NOVELIST + SCREENWRITER TANANARIVE DUE ON HOW SCREENWRITING CAN MAKE YOU A BETTER NOVELIST, HOLLYWOOD RACISM BUT ANTI-SEXISM, + WHY SHE WON’T READ YOUR MANUSCRIPT (MF GALAXY 083)
WHY YOU NEED TO MASTER SHORT STORIES BEFORE TRYING NOVELS, HOW NOVICES MIS-USE WITNESS NARRATORS, ORIGINS OF PSYCHOLOGICAL REALISM IN SFF
Here’s what Stephen King has to say about Tananarive Due’s best known novel, My Soul to Keep: It’s “an eerie epic [that] bears favourable comparison to Interview with the Vampire. I loved this novel.”
When one of the best-selling and most-loved novelists of all time praises your work like that, you know you’ve arrived. But success wasn’t overnight for Tananarive Due. After working for years as a journalist, she took a leave to co-write Freedom in the Family, a memoir of the 1960s US human rights struggle from the perspective of her mother, Patricia Stephens Due, who’d been an activist in it.
Due is the author of twelve novels, including The Living Blood, Devil’s Wake, and Joplin’s Ghost, and the short story collection Ghost Summer. Due has won the American Book Award, an NAACP Image Award, and the Kindred Award. In 2004, along with Nobel laureate Toni Morrison, Due received the “New Voice in Literature Award” at the Yari Yari Pamberi conference co-sponsored by New York University's Institute of African-American Affairs and African Studies Program and the Organization of Women Writers of Africa. In 2010, she was inducted into the Medill School of Journalism's Hall of Achievement at Northwestern University.
With her novelist husband Steven Barnes, Due writes the Tennyson Hardwick mystery series in partnership with actor Blair Underwood. She holds a journalism degree and an M.A. in English literature from Leeds, where she specialized in Nigerian literature as a Rotary Foundation Scholar.
She currently teaches screenwriting at UCLA and in the MFA programme at Antioch University ,Los Angeles.
In this episode of MF GALAXY, Tananarive Due discusses:
- How learning screenwriting can make you a better novelist
- Why anyone aspiring to be a novelist should master the short story first
- Why, even as a creative writing teacher, she won’t read your novel
- How novice writers mis-use so-called witness narrators
- Ongoing racist barriers in Hollywood, but a surprising breakthrough in some writers’ rooms for women, and The origins of psychological realism in contemporary science fiction and fantasy
Due spoke with me on June 6, 2016 by Skype from her home in Los Angeles.
Writing blog www.tananarivedue.wordpress.com
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Ghost Summer book trailer
“Danger Word” (Horror Short) starring Frankie Faison and Saoirse Scott