My interview from the James Currey Prize series via Africa in Dialogue and the probing Davina Philomena Kawuma . Though 'Bones & Runes' didn’t win (congrats to Ani Kayode Somtochukwu!), things are afoot with the manuscript…📖❤️ The interview process was really enjoyable and I learned a lot about my own process through Davina's questions. Stephen’s manuscript, ‘Bones & Runes’, explores traditional African beliefs, mythology, and the supernatural through the points of view of iSangoma, a Druid, and a Hindu Warrior-Magician. Stephen discusses how documentary filmmaking helps him write persuasive fiction, social-media-induced anxieties, stream-of-consciousness ranting, conversations with Sangomas, the importance of listening to our ancestors, a lifelong fascination with birds – he even takes a secondhand potshot at my favourite birds, but (miraculously!) emerges unscathed (hooray! hurrah!) – and serving up real-world situations and emotions for his fictional chara
Showing posts from 2021
How it ended How it started – 23 June 2021 TL;DR: On 23 June we packed up house – 95% of our household and moved in with friends. While staying with my brother and his wife in Limpopo on 12 July, our world seemed to go up in smoke. From one emotional situation to another, we thought we'd hit rock bottom until the Universe opened another layer of the bottomless pit. But the pit was a tunnel...with light at the end of it. On 23 June we packed up house – 95% of our household – and moved in with friends Jane and John Smith. It was hard watching all our stuff get packed away, mostly inaccessible, into one regular garage-sized space. Equally hard was figuring out what we "needed" on a daily basis with us and that could fit in a suitcase. Having friends and family supporting us during this time made a huge difference, and those that understood what we were going through already. My brother Michael and my sister-in-law Cecilia had said we must come up to them in Limpopo when we
My latest short story, Self-Destruct , was published this week in Omenana #18. Read the FULL issue here. I’m really grateful to have my latest short story featured in Omenana Speculative Fiction Magazine: a standout publication for all things African SFF❤️ the team involved have pulled it off yet again. “Self-Destruct” is a short something about being hemmed in, frustrated and lacking face-to-face relationships. And it’s set in the future 😉 Alongside other fantastic authors I know I’ll be enjoying reading over the coming days, READ ISSUE #18 out now FREE. Table of Contents: Le pacte du fleuve – Moustapha Mbacké Diop The Diviner – VH Ncube Eating Kaolin – Dare Segun Falowo Upgraded Versions of a Masquerade – Solomon Uhiara Arriving from Always – Nerine Dorman THE JINI – Wangari Wamae Shandy – Gabrielle Emem Harry SELF-DESTRUCT – Stephen Embleton Germination – Tiah Beautement The Third Option – Jen Thorpe Machine Learning – Ayodele Arigbabu Read the FULL issue online: htt
This morning was a shot out of the blue... and I am most grateful for the longlisting of a Young Adult (YA)/New Adult fantasy story I am passionate about telling. Bones and Runes was begun in September 2016 as a short story idea that demanded be told in its entirety, as a novel, and as the first in a trilogy. I spent the next two years researching (and posting my research and interviews on my podcast, cltrSHIFT ) but paused at the end of 2018 with a third of the novel written but the majority plotted out. I also had such fun doing the fantasy world map and accompanying ink illustrations (whether they are ever used or not). Come 2020 – and lockdown from March – I then threw myself into it without any distractions – work was slow. It was the most fun I've had in writing, and writing a novel-length work (considering how long Soul Searching took me writing part time). Find the press release and full list here.
My debut novel, Soul Searching, was shortlisted (finalist) for the 2021 Nommo Awards by the African Speculative Fiction Society (The Ilube Nommo Award for Best Speculative Fiction Novel by an African), in May 2021. 2021 NOVEL SHORT LIST: The Ilube Nommo Award for Best Speculative Fiction Novel by an African THE DEATH OF VIVEK OJI by Akwaeke Emezi CLUB DED by Nikhil Singh SOUL SEARCHING by Stephen Embleton #nommoawards #nommoshortlist #nommos2021 #2021nommos #2021nommoawards Find the full list for all categories here.
I began this ink illustration on 28 April 2021 and worked on it off an on until adding the final touches on 28 May 2021. “Lunar Ascension” Ink and brush on 200gsm A2 paper 👼🏼🖌 For Sale. For more information or pricing requests: art [at] embleton [dot] co [dot] za #illustration #penandink #penandinkillustration Completed piece Detail wing Detail right hand and wing Detail left hand and wing The Work In Progress: Pencil work. Originally meant to be a solid black sky, I had put down the ink in swooping brushstrokes – but keeping in the direction of the moon and the figure's movement upward – and realised what the streaks added to the upward movement I wanted to have. This led me to simplify the strokes but without losing the "light streaks" altogether. Knowing ink has varying degrees of translucency I decided to use its idiosyncrasies to my advantage and have areas of solid black while others (particularly around the moon) using the lighter ink application to give som
THE MYRIAD DRUMBEATS OF AFROFUTURISM - SEARCHING FOR AN AFRICAN SOUL by Mame Bougouma Diene Appearing in Strange Horizons 24 May 2021 "…Soul Searching is a hell of a ride. Except there is no Hell, and your ride might come crashing down on you." "...this is not a review". Using "Soul Searching" and my writing as the backdrop, Mame Bougouma Diene takes an incisive look at what and who is an African (speculative) writer today? #africanfuturism #africansf #nommoawards #nommonominated "Soul Searching is also a uniquely South African book. A Durbanite book, written by a local who understands its soul." “Jump roping between science and philosophy, Soul Searching applies spirituality to mechanics and crime solving, to healing and recovering our humanity, in the timeless universal that cuts across cultures worldwide, but also in the immediate reality of the multicultural local, where time is running out, and people will die.” Read the full article h
This is an amazing list to have Soul Searching longlisted in. African speculative fiction at its finest! 2021 NOVEL LONG LIST The Girl with the Louding Voice by Abi Daré The Death of Vivek Oji by Akwaeke Emezi Freedom Artist by Ben Okri King of the Hollow Dark by Cat Hellisen Claiming T-Mo by Eugen Bacon The Down Days by Ilze Hugo The First Woman by Jennifer Nansubuga Makumbi Afterland by Lauren Beukes The Perfect Nine by Ngũgĩ wa Thiong’o Water Must Fall by Nick Wood Club Ded by Nikhil Singh Soul Searching by Stephen Embleton The Rosewater Redemption by Tade Thompson Rebel Sisters by Tochi Onyebuchi A Trial of Sparks and Kindling by Yolande Horak
Being exposed to a lot of wildlife imagery, I've seen a few marine animals whose distinct patterns struck me as being ideal for simple graphic illustrations. One in particular was the eagle ray with its ionic shape and the stark spots. Imagining them cruising through the dark depths, light touching their sky-facing patterns, they were the perfect starting pint for this series. There are many striped or spotted animals in the animal kingdom, but most have dark markings on a light body (think of a leopard or a cheetah) and so the effect would be lost on a light animal on a dark background because their shape would be clear without the markings. With the exception of something like a zebra which is either black or white. And that is what sets these apart. From the original idea of the simple black on white, I was then quickly able to makes some wild colour variations as well as go beyond the markings only and include their body shapes for a different stylised effect with fun results!