Show Notes for Ep. 44 "Nisi Shawl"

The host of MRAH, Mary Anne Mohanraj, interviews African-American writer, editor, and journalist Nisi Shawl, best known for her 2016 novel, Everfair. Mohanraj and Shawl take a Deep Dive into the violent realities of history in relation to their work, the difficulties that writers of color face in the publishing world, the recent proliferation of Black speculative fiction, and more. This interview is a part of the Portolan Project, an initiative to provide a wealth of exceptional creative writing courses and resources.

Recorded November, 2022 / Published June 19, 2023


  • 0:00:00 – discussing Shawl’s 2016 novel, Everfair
  • 0:02:47 – the distinction between the Victorian era and steam punk in Shawl’s work
  • 0:05:32 – on the brutality of King Leopold’s War 
  • 0:10:22 – on Shawl’s work in Bloodchildren: Stories by the Octavia E. Butler Scholars anthology
  • 0:14:41 – on people of color getting published and imposter syndrome
  • 0:24:40 – on Black speculative fiction
  • 0:28:27 – on the sequel to Everfair, writing to an audience, and infodumping
  • 0:38:30 – on the perception of death in Shawl’s life and work
  • 0:41:40 – on Shawl and K. Tempest Bradford’s Writing the Other Workshop
  • 0:45:54 – Shawl’s advice to writers who feel unqualified, and her upcoming books

Works and People Mentioned

Organized by order of appearance.

Other Clarifying or Explanatory Links