Fremantle Press and Djed Press collaboration is fast gaining fans in its first week of release
Unlimited Futures: Speculative, Visionary Blak and Black Fiction is now available and we’re over the moon for all the contributors, editors, designers and publishers involved. A week past the release, we asked editors Rafeif Ismail and Ellen van Neerven to reflect on the journey thus far.
Rafeif, the book just came out, what’s been the response so far?
Overwhelmingly positive! I am glad the book is reaching everyone who needs this collection. It has been incredible to see the outpouring of support from many of the communities represented.
This feels like you, Ellen, Hella and all of the contributors are
making a real difference to the book world. Do you get that sense?
This collection, by established, new and emerging creatives, has been a great addition to the literary landscape. It builds on fantastic works that came before it (such as Meet Me At The Intersection) and will hopefully be an avenue for future projects!
Ellen Van Neerven is one of Australia’s most celebrated creatives and it was such an honour to be able to work with them. Their wisdom, care and generosity is seen on every page. Djed Press’s founder, Hella Ibrahim, made this collection possible by creating an Own Voices publication that was desperately needed and lending her substantial knowledge and support to Unlimited Futures. As an emerging editor, every moment of working with these superstars was a gift I’ll treasure for years to come.
The incredible contributors who make up this collection worked incredibly hard – during the height of a pandemic – to bring such remarkable works to life, and create a collection that we can see actively resonating with readers.
What was it like to interview three amazing writers,
Claire G. Coleman, Yirga Gelaw Woldeyes and
Afeif Ismail, at Perth Writers Weekend – the audience seemed
to respond really well – what did you learn?
It was so incredibly moving to have Claire, Yirga and Afeif share their work with us. The three of them are spectacular poets, and captured the audience’s attention seamlessly.
I think that the excitement for the collection was fabulous, the atmosphere was friendly and we learned a lot about each of their creative processes. It was a powerful, powerful thing to have Bla(c)k speculative and visionary fiction works celebrated at Perth Festival’s Literature & Ideas weekend; this panel showed why these works are not only necessary but desired by audiences.
Ellen, tell us about why the final piece in the anthology is what it is?
Reviews of the book have been swift to mention the significance of the final piece of the anthology, which is a visionary piece written by an author that has passed away and is published with the family’s permission and blessing. The piece, by S.J Minniecon, was written in 1945 and it is moving and an honour to include this in our anthology. I found out about this piece through Cherie Minniecon. It still blows me away and hopefully it makes people think about our people writing these pieces last century and the legacy that brings.
Is there an extract you would like us to share? If so, what and why?
One of my favourite lines in the book is Laniyuk’s ’they rolled their shoulders back for the first time in nearly 400 years’ which is in her story ‘Guyuggwa’. The line made me laugh and nod in understanding at the same time. It’s just one of the little treasures that are in this book.