Co-curated with Djed Press and edited by Rafeif Ismail and Ellen van Neerven, Unlimited Futures: Speculative, Visionary Blak+Black Fiction provides the chance for established and emerging First Nations writers and Black writers to share the stories they wish had existed when they were growing up. The project was announced on Saturday 20 June as part of the panel ‘Bla(c)k Speculative Fiction’ at the Emerging Writers’ Festival’s National Writers’ Conference.
Editor Rafeif Ismail said the project was a labour of love that had already involved two years of consultation, collaboration and work with communities. She said, ‘The fact that we are undertaking this project now is timely, but the past two years have highlighted that the art and activism of Bla(c)k people is timeless. Unlimited Futures is our addition to this chapter of art and activism – building on the works that have come before and creating space for the works of First Nations and Afro-Black writers to come.’
Rafeif, who identifies as a third-culture youth of the Sudanese diaspora, is an award-winning emerging author committed to creating accessible spaces for young people of marginalised backgrounds in the arts. Rafeif said, ‘In a continent of increasing division, the works of First Nations writers and Black writers have often been relegated to the margins or to certain types of literature. Focusing on new Australian speculative fiction, the works in the anthology will reflect visionary pasts, hopeful futures and the invisible ties between First Nations people and people of the African diaspora settled on this unceded continent.’
Ellen van Neerven is an award-winning writer, editor and educator of Mununjali Yugambeh and Dutch heritage with strong ancestral ties to south-east Queensland. Ellen said they hoped the anthology would be an avenue of individual, community and national change. They said, ‘As demonstrated by Own Voices movements the world over, the impact of such anthologies is not solely individual and we hope to create a book that challenges and enriches the continent’s creative canon.’
Hella Ibrahim will be working on the project in an advisory capacity, supporting Djed Press co-director Rafeif Ismail. She is the founder and editorial director of Djed Press, an online publication that provides a paid platform for creators of colour, and is an editor with a passion for activism through writing and publishing. Fremantle Press Children’s and YA Publisher Cate Sutherland said she was delighted to work on the project alongside Djed Press and is looking forward to collaborating with all three creatives.
Around 20 Australian own-voice contributors will be selected for the anthology, which will be published by Fremantle Press in 2021. Debut, emerging and established writers in Australia who identify as First Nations or Black are invited to submit new, original works of speculative or visionary fiction of no more than 3,000 words. Submissions will open 31 July 2020 and close 31 August 2020.
For the full guidelines and more information, go to the Fremantle Press submissions page: https://bit.ly/2AWMJnU