We are pleased to announce the selection of two Tiptree Fellows: Elizabeth LaPensée and Walidah Imarisha. LaPensée expresses herself through writing, design, and art in games, comics, and animation. Imarisha is an educator, editor, writer, organizer and spoken word artist. Both these creators are stretching the boundaries of speculative fiction by telling new stories and exploring new media through which stories can be told.
The Tiptree Fellowship program, created earlier this year, is designed to provide support and recognition for the new voices who are making visible the forces that are changing our view of gender today. Each Fellow will receive $500. The work produced as a result of this support will be recognized and promoted by the Tiptree Award.
In describing her work, Elizabeth LaPensée writes:
My work speaks to Indigenous futurisms and to questioning the “speculative” of speculative narrative. I have been raised with an understanding that our science fiction is not science fiction, but rather science fact, recognizing as Anishinaabekwe and Métis that our traditional stories pass on vital teachings that will unravel healing for the world. Acceptance of gender fluidity is an aspect of healing.
With the support of her Tiptree Fellowship, LaPensée plans to create an addition to Spacecanoe, her interactive web-friendly non-linear episodic animation. In this alternate reality, people choose what varying expressions of gender they are happiest with and any arrangement of partnership that makes them happiest from moment to moment. This world reflects the views of certain Indigenous cultures present and active today. The animation does not include dialogue, but rather is an abstract and artful expression of this way of living and knowing.
Walidah Imarisha is working on several projects that work with the concept of visionary science fiction. One project is a new collection of poetry called Tubman’s Uncertainty Principle. These poems explore Black women’s freedom struggles historically, currently, and futuristically through a poetic framework of quantum physics. Imarisha is also is writing a novel that expands on her short story “Black Angel,” originally published in the anthology Octavia’s Brood. Imarisha writes,
With characters like a big-haired grumpy Black woman/fallen angel turned reluctant superhero, a Palestinian anti-racist skinhead, an undocumented girl whose parents have been sold to a sweatshop, I explore issues of crime, punishment, gender, sexual identity, war, race, faith and religion, xenophobia, colonialism and redemption.
We intend to continue to provide Fellowships in future years. Over time, the Fellowship program will create a network of Fellows who can build connections, provide mutual support, and find opportunities for collaboration. This effort will complement the on-going work of the Award — that is, the celebration of speculative fiction that expands and explores gender roles in thought-provoking, imaginative, and occasionally infuriating ways. The Tiptree Award is intended to reward those writers who are bold enough to contemplate shifts and changes in gender roles, a fundamental aspect of any society.
The selection committee for this year’s Tiptree Fellowships was made up of Tiptree Motherboard members Alexis Lothian and Debbie Notkin, Tiptree Award winner Nisi Shawl, and inaugural Tiptree Fellow micha cárdenas.
If you would like to donate to the fund for future Tiptree Fellowships, you can do so via firstname.lastname@example.org, or you can mail a check to 680 66th Street, Oakland, CA 94609. Let us know if you would like your donation to support the Fellowships program specifically.