ChickenBones: A Journal
for Literary & Artistic African-American Themes
There’s a far more overt voice of protest in many of these stories, while at the same time
there’s a more comfortable focus on matters of sensuality and the body
Books by Sheree R. Thomas
* * * * *
Edited By Sheree R. Thomas
Ihsan Bracy, artist, author, and educator, is a graduate of Benington College in Vermont and the author of two plays, Against the Sun, the Southampton Slave Revolt of 1831 and N’toto, a spirit play, as well as two volumes of poetry, cadre and the ubangi files. Twice a CAPS Council on the Arts and a member of the New renaissance Writers Guild. he is currently working on a novel.
Kevin S. Brockennrough, aka, “Brock,” is a writer of the stories you’d find “if you did Vulcan Mind Meld with Stephen King and Spike Lee.” He gives thanks to Gil Scott-Heron for inspiring him to write and to New York’s Frederick Douglass Creative Arts center for helping him polish his skills. A graduate of Clark Atlanta University’s MBA program, Brock works for a large Black ad agency, helping deprogram, Fortune 500 executives who think all African Americans are poor and drink malt liquor. He is also a member of the Organization of Black Screenwriters, and is currently shopping two screenplays “full of black folks, black magic, and black humor.” He lives in Newark, New Jersey, and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
Wanda Coleman, a national Book Award finalist, is the author of Mercurochrome, the novel Mambo Hips and Make Believe, the collections Heavy Daughter Blues: Poems and Stories 1968-1986, African Sleeping Sickness: Stories and Poems, Bathwater Wine, A War of Eyes and Other Stories, Hand Dance, and Imagoes. Her honors include fellowships in poetry from the National Endowment for the Arts and the Guggenheim Foundation.
Her fiction received a fellowship from the California Arts Council and the 1990 Harriette Simpson Arnow Prize (The American Voice). Widely anthologized, her work appears in Breaking Ice: An Anthology of Contemporary African-American Fiction, The Best American Poetry (1988 and 1996), Trouble the Water: 250 years of African-American Poetry, The Norton Anthology of African American Literature, and The Norton Anthology of Postmodern American Poetry, among many others.
John Cooley is an illustrator and comic book author based in Memphis. His work has appeared in Black Issues Book review and African Voices. “The Binary” is his first short fiction publication.
Carol Cooper is a Manhattan-born, Harlem-based freelance journalist who has cranked out more than twenty years’ worth of articles for various publications, including Elle, Essence, the Black American, Billboard, Latin N.Y., Rolling Stone, Film Comment, New York Newsday, the New York Times, and the Village Voice.
She earned a B.A. in English and a master’s degree in Liberal Studies from Wesleyan University. While Ms. Cooper was there, Professor Cynthia Smith was instrumental in awarding the summer scholarship that sent Ms.Cooper to the Clarion Writer’s Workshop for Fantasy and Science Fiction in 1974. the experience prompted Ms. Cooper’s successful submission of a near-future science fiction novel for her master’s thesis.
After temporarily abandoning fiction to review world-beat, funk, and post-punk concerts for the entertainment press, she spent half of the 1980s and early nineties scouting talent as a corporate A &R director during highly profitable (and educational!) stints with A&M Records, Columbia Records, and RMM Records in new York.
Samuel Delany is the author of such classic science fiction novels as the Return to Nevèrÿon fantasy series. Most recently, Delany has produced the novels They Fly at Çiron and The Mad Man, the collections Aye, and Gommorrah and Atlantis: Three Tales, and the nonfiction books Silent Interviews: On Language, Race, Sex, Science Fiction and Some Comics; Times Square Red, Times Square Blue; Shorter Views: Queer Thoughts & The Politics of the Paraliterary; and 1984, fifty-six letters and documents written in the mid-1980s to various friends, relatives, and colleagues.
He also wrote the graphic novel Bread & Wine: An Erotic Tale of New York. Delany has won the Nebula Award, the Hugo Award, and the James Tiptree, Jr., Award for his work in SF, as well as the William Whitehead Memorial Award for a lifetime’s contribution to gay and lesbian literature. He is currently a professor of comparative literature at Temple University.
W.E.B. Du Bois (1868-1963) was an American historian, essayist, novelist, biographer, poet, autobiographer, editor, and activist. he was the first black Ph.D. from Harvard, one of the founders of American sociology, the founder of both the Niagara Movement and the NAACP, and he edited its journal, The Crisis, which published some of the trailblazers of the Harlem Renaissance. As a major force in helping to define black social and political causes in the united States, he is perhaps best known for his 1903 volume The Souls of Black Folk, in which he introduced the concept of “double consciousness” and explored the role of black in American society. He is also well known for his historiography and pioneering role in studying black history (in 1909 he conceived of the Encyclopedia Africana, the first comprehensive history of the African diaspora), as well as his activism, prompting Herbert Aptheker to call him one of the eminent “history makers’ of the twentieth century.
Tananarive Due is the author of five novels, including The Good House and the living Blood, which won a 2002 American Book Award. She is also the author of The Between, My Soul to Keep, and a historical novel written in conjunction with the Alex Haley estate, The Black Rose. Her science Fiction short story “Patient Zero” appeared in two Best SF of the Year anthologies in 2001. With her mother, civil rights activist Patricia Stephens Due, Tananarive co-authored Freedom in the Family: A Mother-Daughter Memoir of the Fight for Civil Rights. She lives in Longview, Washington, with her husband, science fiction novelist Steven Barnes.
Henry Dumas (1934-1968) was a poet, short fiction writer, and mythopoetic folklorist. Born in Sweet Home, Arkansas, Dumas spent his early years “saturated” with religious and folk traditions of the South. the poetry of these roots can be seen in his first collection of short stories, Ark of Bones and other stories (1974), edited by his friend and colleague, poet Eugene Redmond. Dumas’ promising career was cut short when he was “mistakenly” shot down by a New York City Transit policeman on May 23, 1968.
Due to Redmond’s dedication to keeping Dumas’ literary legacy alive, readers were able to later discover the posthumously published collections Goodbye Sweetwater (1988) and Knees of a Natural Man: The Selected Poetry of Henry Dumas (1989), Random House). His poetry also appeared in Play Ebony, Play Ivory (1974). Dumas’ work was inspired by folk roots and by African American music, particularly blues and jazz, Dumas studied with Sun Ra and developed a craft that was distinctly his own vision.
David Findlay is a graduate of the Clarion Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers’ Workshop 2000. he lives in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, and does a different day job every month. He daydreamed through his few childhood visits to Sunday school.
Jewelle Gomez is an activist and writer whose work has appeared in innumerable journals and anthologies. They include Children of the Night, Home Girls, Daughters of Africa, and Afrekete. She is the author of five books, including the award-winning The Gilda Stories, the first black vampire novel published in the United States; more Gilda stories can be found in Dark Matter: A Century of Speculative Fiction from the African Diaspora and two recent anthologies from Firebrand Books, To Be Continued One and Two.
Her stage adaptation of the novel was commissioned by the Urban Bush Women Company in the 1996 season. Gomez also coedited, with Eric Garber, a collection of fantasy fiction entitled Swords of the Rainbow. She has written reviews and articles for the New York Times, the San Francisco Chronicle, the Village Voice, Ms. magazine, and Essence. In 1968 she was on the original staff of Say Brother, one of the first weekly black television programs, produced in Boston, and later was on the staff of Black News and The Electric Company, both produced in New York City. She was featured, along with Steven Barnes, Octavia E. Butler, Samuel R. Delany, and Tananarive Due, in the first conference of black speculative fictions writers of the United States, held at Clark Atlanta University in 1998. Born in Boston, she lives and teaches in the bay Area.
Andrea Hairston is a professor of theater at Smith College, where she directs and teaches playwriting and African, African American, and Caribbean theater literature. A playwright, director, actor, and musician, she is the Artistic Director of Chrysalis Theatre and has produced original theater with music, dance, and masks for over twenty-five years. her plays have been produced at Yale Rep, Rites and Reason, the Kennedy Center, StageWest, and on public radio and public television.
She has also translated plays by Michael Ende and Kaca Celan from German to English. Ms. Hairston has received many playwriting and directing awards, including a National Endowment for the Arts Grant to playwrights, a Rockefellow/NEA Grant for New Works, an NEA grant to work as dramaturge/director with playwright Pearl Cleage, a Ford Foundation Grant to collaborate with Senegalese master drummer Massamba Diop, and a Shubert Fellowship for Playwriting. Much of Ms. Hairston’s work has been about imagining the impossible and rehearsing the future in the face of adversity. Mindscape is her first speculative fiction novel. Transforming from a playwright/poet speaking through a chorus of theater artists to a live audience into a novelist was indeed a magical feat.
Nalo Hopkinson was born in Jamaica and grew up in Jamaica, Guyana, Trinidad, and Canada, where she has lived since age sixteen. The daughter of a poet/playwright and a library technician, she has written the acclaimed novels Brown Girl in the Ring, Midnight Robber, and The Salt Roads, and her short fiction has appeared in a number of science fiction and literary anthologies and magazines. Her short story collection, Skin Folk, won the 2002 World Fantasy Award and she has edited two anthologies, Whispers from the Cotton Tree Root: Caribbean Fabulist Fiction and Mojo: Conjure Stories.
Tyehimba Jess is a member of the Cave Canem Poetry collective. He won the 2001 Gwendolyn Brooks Mic Poetry Award and was a 2001-2002 Ragdale Fellow. He was also awarded an Illinois Artist Fellowship in Poetry for 2001. Jess’s writing has appeared in Beyond the Frontier: African American Poetry for the Twenty-First Century, Role Call: A Generational Anthology of Social and Political Black Literature and Art, Bum Rush the Page: A Def Poetry Jam, Power Lines: Ten Years of Poetry from Chicago’s Guild Complex, Slam: The Art of Performance Poetry, Ploughshares, Black Issues Book Review, the Oyez Review, Blu Magazine, 580 Split, Obsidian III: Literature in the African Diaspora, Warpland: A Journal of Black Literature and Ideas, African Voices, Mosaic, e-poets.net, and the Source.
Charles Johnson, writer, philosopher, and illustrator, is the winner of the 1998 MacArthur Fellowship and has published five novels, including the widely celebrated Middle Passage (1990), which won the National Book award for fiction, and Dreamer (1998). Born in Evanston, Illinois, Johnson’s first love was drawing. He worked as an editorial cartoonist while attending Southern Illinois University. In the early 1970s, he published two collections of drawings. In 1974, he wrote his first novel, Faith and the Good Thing, a book heavily influenced by John Gardner, Ralph Ellison, and Buddhist thought.
After writing several screenplays, including Booker (1984), which appeared on PBS, Johnson became a teacher of creative writing at the University of Washington, where he is currently the distinguished S. Wilson and Grace M. Pollock Professor of English. Johnson’s recent works include Soulcatcher and Other Stories (2001), twelve original short stories written as a companion volume to the 1998 PBS series; Africans in America: America’s Journey Through Slavery, which he coauthored with Patricia Smith; and King: The PhotoBiography of Martin Luther King, Jr. (200), coauthored with Bob Adelman.
Douglas Kearney is a Cave Canem Fellow and a firm believer in feeding crows. He likes swords and might be carrying one to the supermarket right now. He lives in Altadena, California, with his wife, Nicole, and bookshelves full of folklore.
Walter Mosley is the New York Times best-selling author of Futureland: Nine Stories of An Imminent World, Bluelight, and the Easy Rawlins novels Bad Boy Brawley Brown and Fearless Jones. His books have been translated into twenty languages and his short story collection, Always Outnumbered, Always Outgunned, received the Anisfeld-Wolf Book Award. Born in Los Angeles, he has been a potter, a computer programmer, and a poet. Walter Mosley lives in New York.
Pam Coles works as a journalist in Southern California. A graduate of the Clarion Writers Workshop, her prose shorts have appeared in Andrew Vachss’ Underground and Pulphouse magazine, and she is collaborating with artist Mia Wolff (Bread & Wine: An Erotic Tale of New York) on a graphic novel. Whipping Boy is her first novel. She can be reached at email@example.com.
Nnedi Okorafor-Mbachu is a journalist for Africana.com, and a technology columnist for the Chicago Sun-Time‘s sister paper, the Star (the column is called “Nnedi on the Net’). She is a graduate of the Clarion Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers Workshop (MSU) and is currently working on her Ph.D. in English at the University of Illinois, Chicago. She won third place in the Hurston/Wright Awards for her story “Amphibious Green.” She also received honorable mention. Okorafor/Mbachu’s short story, “Windseekers” was a finalist in the L. Ron Hubbard Writers of the Future Contest. She also was chosen to present her master’s thesis paper, “Virtual Women: Female Characters in Video Games,” at the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication 2001 convention.
Her short stories appeared in the following literary journals: the Women’s International Network magazine, Margin: Exploring Modern Magical Realism, Moondance magazine, Shag, Umoja, Strange Horizons, and The Thirteenth Floor. In 2001, “Crossroads,” a short story, was published in The Witching Hour Anthology by Silver Lake Publishing, and in 2003, “Asuquo” appeared in Mojo: Conjure Stories. Her first young adult novel, novel, Zahrah and the Windseekers, will be published by Houghton, Mifflin in early 2004.
Jill Robinson is a marketing specialist for a multinational financial institution who writes articles and fiction for adult and ten audiences. Her work has appeared in shine.com, GenerationNeXt, Anansi: Fiction of the African Diaspora, and Role Call: A Generational Anthology of Social and Political Black Literature and Art. The Cinnaminson, New Jersey, native currently resides in Brooklyn, New York, and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Kalamu ya Salaam, a prolific New Orleans writer, is founder of the Nommo Literary Society, a black writers’ workshop; cofounder with Kysha Brown of Runagate multimedia; leader of the WordBand, a poetry performance ensemble; and moderator of e-Drum, a listserv of over 1,600 black writers and diverse supporters of literature. His background includes thirteen years as editor of the Black Collegian magazine and five years with the Free Southern Theatre. His latest books include the anthology of Nommo writers Speak the Truth to the People, edited with Kysha Brown; The Magic of Juju: An Appreciation of the Black Arts Movement; and the anthology 360° a Revolution of Black Poets. Salaam’s largest spoken word CD is My Story, my Song. He can be reached at email@example.com or Kalamu@aol.com.
Kiini Ibura Salaam is a writer, painter, and traveler from New Orleans, Louisiana. Her first short story, “How Far have We Come?”, was published in the Black Collegian magazine in 1991. her second story, “Rebellious Energy,” was published in the African American Review in 1993. After graduating from Spelman College in 1994, Kiini traveled to five countries as a Thomas J. Watson fellow and published “Of Wings, Nectar, & Ancestors” in the Fertile Ground literary journal. In 1997, her short story “Malkai’s Last Seduction” which was included in Dark Eros, a collection of erotica) received mention in a Publishers Weekly review. Also in 1997, her essays “Brothers Are” and “A New Understanding” were included in Men We Cherish and Father Songs, respectively.
The March 2000 issue of Essence magazine featured her article “Navigating to No,” causing a flurry of radio and television interviews. Most recently, her short story “At Life’s Limits” was included in Dark Matter: A Century of Speculative Fiction from the African Diaspora. In 2001, Kiini was one of ten authors who contributed to the collaborative novel When Butterflies Kiss, and her essay “No,” was included in Ms. magazine’s June/July 2001 issue.
Kiini regularly leaves the country to devote time to her writing. She is currently crafting Big Boned, her first novel, and Lust Heals, a collection of erotic short stories. She is the author of the KIS.list, a weekly e-report on life as a writer. Kiini Ibura Salaam intends to be one of the most important authors of the twenty-first century. She lives in Brooklyn.
Charles R. Saunders, a native of Pennsylvania, has lived for the last three decades in Canada, where, in the intervals between teaching the social sciences, “the odd creative writing seminar,” and publishing nonfiction, he has been writing African-based fantasies since 1971. His short fiction has appeared in The Best Fantasy Stories of the Year, in the anthologies Amazons I, Hecate’s Cauldron, and Dark Matter: A Century of Speculative Fiction from the African Diaspora, and he published three novels for DAW: Imaro, based on his popular short story series; Imaro II: Quest for Cush, and Imaro III: the Trail of Bohu. He recently completed a non-Imaro African fantasy and is currently working on a novel based on his character Doussouye.
Nisi Shawl‘s short fiction has appeared in Asimov’s Science Fiction magazine, Daughters of Nyx, Semiotext(e) Science Fiction, and Dark Matter: A Century of Speculative Fiction from the African Diaspora. Gnosis magazine and the Stranger, Seattle’s notorious newsweekly, have printed her articles and reviews. Nisi moved to Seattle from Ann Arbor, Michigan, as directed by her ancestors. She is a volunteer and board member for the Clarion West Writers Workshop. In her spare time, she works forty hours a week at Borders Books and Music, unpacking shipments and running writing and critique groups.
Cherene Sherrard, a native of Los Angeles, has lived in New York and Atlanta, but now resides in Madison, Wisconsin, where she is an assistant professor in the English department at the University of Wisconsin. In addition to teaching nineteenth-century African American literature, she is currently working on her first novel, Yard Girl, and a book of poetry. A Cave Canem and Hurston Wright Fellow, her poetry and short stories have been published in several journals and anthologies.
Ibi Aanu Zoboi is a writer and researcher of the science, myth, and oral tradition of the Diaspora. She draws from the revolutionary history of her native Haiti and African cosmology to create inspirational tales of triumph and resurrection. Ibi is a graduate of the 2001 Clarion West Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers Workshop and a winner of the Women Writers of Haitian Descent (WWOHD) Fiction Award for her short story “At the Shores of Dawn,” published in One Respe! literary journal and the Boston Haitian Reporter. She lives in Brooklyn with her husband and is currently working on her first novel.
* * * * *
Sheree Renée Thomas is a writer, editor, small publisher, educator, and mother whose work has appeared in numerous publications and literary journals. She is the co-publisher of the literary journal, Anansi: Fiction of the African Diaspora, owner of SEER Editorial Services, and founder of Wanganegresse Press.
Wanga Presss first title, Mojo Rising: Confessions of a 21st Century Conjureman by Arthur Flowers was short-listed for the Hurston/Wright Foundations LEGACY Award and the PEN Open Book Award. A Cave Canem Fellow and a 2003 New York Foundation for the Arts Fellow in Poetry.
Thomas’ fiction and poetry are anthologized in Role Call: A Generational Anthology of Social and Political Black Literature and Art (Third World Press), 2001: A Science Fiction Poetry Anthology (Anamnesis Press), Bum Rush the Page: A Def Poetry Jam (Three Rivers) edited by Tony Medina and Louis Reyes Rivera, and Nalo Hopkinson’s Mojo: Conjure Stories (Warner 2003), as well as the literary journals African Voices, Black Renaissance/Renaissance Noire (NYU/Indiana University Press), Meridians: feminism, race, transnationalism (Smith College/Wesleyan University Press), Drumvoices Revue: 10th Anniversary Anthology (SIUE), Obsidian III: Literature of the African Diaspora (NCSU), Voices: The Wisconsin Review of African Literatures (University of Wisconsin at Madison), and Ishmael Reeds KONCH.
In 2003 she was awarded the Ledig House/LEF Foundation Prize for Fiction for her novel, Bonecarver, and was nominated for the 2003 Rhysling Award in the Short Poem category for her poem, “Starry Crown.” Her work, “Black River Ritual” also received Honorable Mention in The Years Best Fantasy & Horror: Sixteen Annual Collection (St. Martins Griffin, 2003). As a journalist and book critic, her reviews have appeared in Upscale, The Washington Post Book World, Black Issues Book Review, QBR, American Visions, and Emerge Magazine.
A native of Memphis and the mother of two daughters, Thomas is a member of the Beyond Dusa Women’s Collective, the New Renaissance Writers Guild, and teaches creative writing and short fiction at the Frederick Douglass Creative Arts Center in Manhattan. Her first anthology, Dark Matter: A Century of Speculative Fiction from the African Diaspora, won the World Fantasy Award and the Gold Pen Award. Her second book, Dark Matter: Reading the Bones, was released on January 2, 2004 by Warner Aspect. She is currently editing a third volume in her groundbreaking black science fiction series, tentatively titled Dark Matter: Africa Rising, in addition to Eldersongs, her oral history and poetry program, and other writing projects designed to uplift, engage, and enlighten the community.
For more information on Sheree Renée Thomas, visit: Sheree’s Time Warner Books author page on the Dark Matter series http://www.twbookmark.com/authors/52/1933/indexl
Sheree’s New York Foundation for the Arts fellowship page http://www.nyfa.org/nyfa_artists_detail.asp?pid=4976
Source: Dark Matter: Reading the Bones
* * * * *
From The World and Africa, 1965
* * * * *
* * * * *
If you like this page consider making a donation
online through PayPal
* * * * *
Browse all issues
* * * * *
* * * * *
* * * * *
* * * * *
update 17 July 2011
Related files: Dark Matter Reviews