I am a Black speculative fiction, game, and non-fiction writer with an MFA from the Stonecoast low-residency program out of the University of Southern Maine 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.
I am a graduate of the Odyssey Writers Workshop, winner of 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, 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!)
On the gaming and interactive side of things, I write scripts for long-form audio narrative exergame Zombies, Run!, am working on one Twine game that puts you in the role of a freelance investigator in a city with a defunded police department and reimagined justice system and another where you’re an X-rated chatbot trying to earn an android body through speed-dating, do freelance writing for TTRPGs, and have published a short interactive fiction piece in Sub-Q.
And finally, as a non-fiction writer, I’ve reviewed books and written essays about being a black writer in speculative fiction and why dystopias are important, among other topics.
You can find me talking about life and fiction on Twitter at @nirele.