LOC National Book Festival – Tananarive Due

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PBS Books, in collaboration with GPB in Atlanta, hosts Tananarive Due, an award-winning author who teaches Black horror and Afrofuturism at the University of California.  

PBS Books presents an exclusive conversation with award-winning author Tananarive Due, a leading innovator in Black horror and Afrofuturism. Her new collection, “The Wishing Pool and Other Stories,” showcases her mastery of the genre. With tales of horror, science fiction, and suspense, Due creates an atmosphere of creeping dread and tackles important themes like racism and the human psyche. From classic horror to post-apocalyptic futures, her stories are a testament to her versatility and skill. Join us as Due shares her creative process and discusses the power of storytelling. Don’t miss this opportunity to engage with a visionary author redefining the boundaries of terrifying tales.

These tales of fright are both intellectually keen and psychologically bloodcurdling, no surprise from an award-winning writer whose command of the Black horror aesthetic rivals Jordan Peele’s in originality and sheer bravado. The opening salvo, “The Wishing Pool,” takes a universal familial worry and paints it with shades of “The Monkey’s Paw.” The hairbreadth between acute tragedy and the blackest of humor are child’s play for the author in “Haint in the Window,” which masterfully nods to Octavia E. Butler in the story of a bookseller facing elements out of his control. The five tales in The Gracetown Stories give a sense of Stephen King’s fictional Derry or Jerusalem’s Lot: It’s just a bad patch of ground ripe with horrors ranging from Cthulhu-like abominations in “Suppertime” to demonic possession in “Migration,” in which a friend helpfully asks, “Is that thing acting up again?” Another pair of stories visits a woman named Nayima whose post-apocalyptic endeavors include some light stand-up comedy in “One Day Only” and, much later, the necessity to protect and school her young charge even as her own mind fails in “Attachment Disorder.” A final triptych of stories labeled “Future Shock” wouldn’t go amiss as episodes of The Twilight Zone. Although the tales vary greatly in length and style, it’s the Hitchcock-ian, Black Mirror–tinged reveals and existential questions that stand out—a dying man’s final vow, a teeth-grinding amount of child endangerment, or the awful, pedestrian confession, “I broke my daughter’s arm.” Even in a far-off future, Due finds that big questions endure: “Was it better to die free?”

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About Tananarive Due

Tananarive Due is an award-winning author who teaches Black horror and Afrofuturism at University of California, Los Angeles. A leading voice in Black speculative fiction for many years, Due has received an American Book Award, an NAACP Image Award and a British Fantasy Award, and her writing has been included in best-of-the-year anthologies. Her stories have been featured on the “LeVar Burton Reads” podcast and by the Realm audio entertainment company. Due and her husband/collaborator, Steven Barnes, wrote for Jordan Peele’s “The Twilight Zone” and for Shudder’s anthology film “Horror Noire: A History of Black Horror.” They also co-wrote the Black horror graphic novel “The Keeper,” illustrated by Marco Finnegan. Due and Barnes co-host a podcast, “Lifewriting: Write for Your Life!” Her latest work, “The Wishing Pool and Other Stories,” will be featured at the 2023 National Book Festival.

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