Nalo Hopkinson is the author of six novels, a chapbook and a short story collection (Brown Girl in the Ring, Midnight Robber, The Salt Roads, The New Moon’s Arms, The Chaos, Sister Mine, Report From Planet Midnight, Skin Folk). She is the editor of fiction anthologies Whispers From the Cotton Tree Root: Caribbean Fabulist Fiction, and Mojo: Conjure Stories. She is the co-editor of fiction anthologies So Long Been Dreaming: Postcolonial Science Fiction (with Uppinder Mehan) and Tesseracts Nine (with Geoff Ryman).
Photo by David Findlay, 2011.
Hopkinson’s work has received Honourable Mention in Cuba’s “Casa de las Americas” literary prize. She is a recipient of the Warner Aspect First Novel Award, the Ontario Arts Council Foundation Award for emerging writers, the John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer, the Locus Award for Best New Writer, the World Fantasy Award, the Sunburst Award for Canadian Literature of the Fantastic, the Aurora Award, and the Gaylactic Spectrum Award. Nalo was born in Jamaica, has lived in Jamaica, Trinidad and Guyana and for the past 30+ years in Canada. She currently teaches at UC Riverside and spends part of the year in Toronto, Canada.
SF Signal had the opportunity to talk with several authors involved in the new anthology, After: Nineteen Stories of Apocalypse and Dystopia, edited by Ellen Datlow and Terri Windling, and featuring stories asking: If the melt-down, flood, plague, the third World War, new Ice Age, Rapture, alien invasion, clamp-down, meteor, or something else entirely hit today, what would tomorrow look like? Some of the biggest names in YA and adult literature answer that very question in this short story anthology, each story exploring the lives of teen protagonists raised in catastrophe’s wake—whether set in the days after the change, or decades far in the future.
CHARLES TAN: Hi Nalo! Thanks for agreeing to do the interview. For you, how would you define Dyslit or what are its essential characteristics?
NALO HOPKINSON: You’re most welcome. Thanks for asking me. Honestly, this interview is the first time I’ve twigged to the term “dyslit”. I had to take a moment to figure out what you meant by it. So any answer I would give you would be a stab in the dark, not based on actual familiarity. When Terri and Ellen asked me to consider submitting a story to them for After, I simply read the description of the anthology, realized I had a story in progress that might fit, and submitted that to them once I eventually finished it. So although I was writing in a particular mode, i.e. a story that turned out to be dystopian and that was suitable for young adults, I wasn’t aware that dyslit was a thing, if you understand what I mean.