I am a Black speculative fiction and game writer and a Provost’s Early Career Fellow in the English Department at UT-Austin. I primarily write about worlds that don’t yet (quite) exist – visions of the almost future, sideways glimpses into magic realms, quick trips into the land of the horrifyingly possible. I am also fascinated by people who embody one of my favorite Sondheim lyrics: nice is different than good.
On the gaming and interactive side of things, I freelance write for tabletop roleplaying games (TTRPGs), including the up-and-coming Journeys Through the Radiant Citadel for Dungeons & Dragons, which includes both an adventure and a new location created as my homage/love letter to the Black experience in the US South, write scripts for long-form audio narrative exergame Zombies, Run!, and create interactive fiction pieces, including a recent piece for the IF anthology Strange Lusts where you get the chance to relive all your MadLibs glory as a sexchat bot trying to pass the Turing test through speed dating (story notes for that one here!).
I am a graduate of the Odyssey Writers Workshop and hold an MFA from the University of Southern Maine. I’m proud to have been awarded the Speculative Literature Foundation’s 2017 Diverse Worlds Grant and Diverse Writers Grant and a 2019 Individual Artist Award from the Maryland State Arts Council, was one of the Carl Brandon scholars for the 2018 Writing Excuses cruise, and will be attending Hedgebrook in 2022 as a Writer in Residence. I’ve also had the honor of having one of my stories, “Sour Milk Girls,” included in the Best Science Fiction of the Year, vol. 4, The Year’s Best Dark Fantasy and Horror 2019, and the Year’s Best Science Fiction & Fantasy 2019. (More about that story here: story notes!)
And finally, I enjoy talking and teaching about writing – check out my upcoming appearances here to see if any catch your fancy.
I occasionally blog on this site, but you can mostly find me talking about life and fiction on Twitter at @nirele.