Show Notes for Ep. 17 "An Interview with Nalo Hopkinson"

Join Mary Anne as she interviews Nalo Hopkinson about the exceptional use of language and vernacular in her work.

To read the transcription of the interview, click here.

Recorded 2019/ Published 26 July 2021


  • 0:00: Introduction
  • 0:25: The wonderful works of Nalo Hopkinson
  • 1:32: Mohanraj shares her own struggles in losing sight of the craft of beautiful language.
  • 2:05: Hopkinson prefaces her reading of Midnight Robber with the context of its linguistic influence.
  • 3:17: The clarity in reading works aloud.
  • 4:53: Hopkinson gives us a brief lesson in linguistics.
  • 5:32: “I have permission.”
  • 6:42: Mohanraj recounts the discrepancies in speaking versus writing she sees in her students.
  • 7:32: Writing working-class characters
  • 8:27: Language in the context of invented worlds.
  • 9:21: Adjusting the intensity of vernaculars – art vs. audience.
  • 10:02: Less can be more with unfamiliar vernaculars or language modes.
  • 11:10: Exercises in Le Guin’s Steering the Craft.
  • 12:30: Hopkinson talks of a student of hers teaching English in Korea.
  • 13:33: How writers teach the readers to read in unfamiliar registers.
  • 14:58The Bone People
  • 15:26: Mohanraj and Hopkinson bond over their shared view on glossaries.
  • 16:59: The need for language above the needs of the reader.
  • 17:58: Writing without inhibition
  • 18:57: Hopkinson and The Sandman
  • 19:05: Conclusion

Authors and Works Mentioned

Alphabetically by author surname, or by title of work in cases where authorship isn’t simple.