So … the late summer has been a bit of a rush.

In the last few weeks I have:

-had a project (Sorcerers) optioned for a television series by AMC

-was short-listed for the Eugene and Marilyn Glick Indiana Authors Award for Genre (for Pimp My Airship)

-The Usual Suspects came out in paperback

-had the Apex Magazine Kickstarter fund in a couple of hours, thus ensuring that I’m now an editor at Apex Magazine

-had my story “The Migration Suite: A Study in C Sharp Minor” picked up for a Year’s Best anthology

-done more (virtual) panels and readings than I can remember ever doing (not surprising since I rarely do panels or readings)

-won the Indiana Authors Award

Somewhere in there, I turned in my latest middle grade novel, Unfadeable (whose rewrites I thought might do me in) and wrote two short stories. I’m currently working on a new one as I bide my time waiting for the editorial notes for the first in my sf space opera series, Sweep of Stars.

All while I’m settling back into in-person teaching at my school (though I gave a talk to the parents of the school over the summer).

With that in mind, I really appreciate the support to my Patreon, which helps me continue to be active in the community. With that in mind, this month we look at:

-[AWESOME PICS]: with apparently a discussion on my writing workspace

-[AWESOME BLOG]: some thoughts on building a platform

-[AWESOME PIMPING]: a look at a WIP for a secret project

-[AWESOME COMMUNITY]: a look at being the resident Afrofuturist at the Kheprw Institute

As always, I appreciate your support of my Patreon. Words cannot express how encouraging it is, especially during these dark times. I really appreciate it…and each and every one of you. Thank you!

I launched a Patreon because some friends wanted a way to help support the work that I do in the community. If you would like to support it (and receive updates on the work that’s being done) please feel free to join. Thank you so much!
Become a Patron!

“Pimp My Airship” Wins Indiana Author Award!

Meet Maurice Broaddus, winner of the 2020 Indiana Authors Award in the genre category for his book “Pimp My Airship.”

Indianapolis is recast as a steampunk, sci-fi landscape in Broaddus’ work where themes of power, racism and mass incarceration of people of color are explored. The fast-paced adventure through an alternative Indy follows an unlikely trio of Black compatriots into a battle for control of the nation and the soul of their people. Born in London, England, Broaddus has lived most of his life in Indianapolis. Describing himself an “accidental teacher” (at The Oaks Academy Middle School in Indianapolis), an “accidental librarian” (the school library manager as part of the Indianapolis Public Library Shared System) and a purposeful community organizer (resident Afrofuturist at the Kheprw Institute), Broaddus has seen his work appear in a variety of publications, including Lightspeed Magazine, Weird Tales, Asimov’s and Uncanny Magazine. He is the author, collaborator and editor of numerous novels and novellas.

This week we’re featuring each of the winners of the 2020 Indiana Authors Awards. You can learn more about them at www.indianaauthorsawards.org.


For your reading list: A New York Times bestseller is among Indiana Authors Awards winners

Broaddus Wins Indiana Authors Award

Honors keep coming for Maurice Broaddus


AFROFUTURE FRIDAY: A Conversation with Maurice Broaddus

Today Rasul Palmer interviews Maurice Broaddus, author of Pimp My Airship, and recent recipient of the Eugene and Marilyn Glick Indiana Authors Award for Genre. The topics range from the inspiration of Pimp My Airship, a look at Indiana history, and applications of Afrofuturism to community work.


For your reading list: A New York Times bestseller is among Indiana Authors Awards winners

Broaddus Wins Indiana Authors Award

Honors keep coming for Maurice Broaddus


Afrofuture Fridays brought to you by a partnership with folks we’d like to thank:

The 2020 Eugene and Marilyn Glick Indiana Authors Awards shortlists have been announced!

Featuring the works of lifelong Hoosiers, professors at Indiana colleges and universities, former residents and others, the shortlists feature stories (fact and fiction) about life in Indiana, about nature and about interesting people. At turns whimsical and serious, funny and haunting, the shortlist honorees address pressing topics such as race, immigration, teen pregnancy and suicide. There are also fairies and airships and voodoo. And yes, basketball.
In other words, they represent the incredible breadth and depth of talent, ideas and imagination that this place—our place—evokes in writers. We hope you pick up a copy (or two or ten) and continue to #ReadLocal. To purchase any of these books through local independent bookstores, visit our page on Bookshop.org. And, to read more about the authors and the books, visit IndianaAuthorsAwards.org.
Children’s Shortlist:
Crystal Allen, The Magnificent Mya Tibbs: Mya in the Middle
John David Anderson, Granted
Gabrielle Balkan, Book of Flight
Skila Brown, Clackety Track: Poems About Trains
Troy Cummings, Can I Be Your Dog?
Helen Frost, Hello, I’m Here!
Michael Homoya,
Shane Gibson and Gillian Harris, Wake Up, Woods
Phillip Hoose, Attucks! Oscar Robertson and the Basketball Team that Awakened a City 

Young Adult Shortlist:
Sharon Biggs Waller, Girls on the Verge
Saundra Mitchell, All the Things We Do in the Dark 

Poetry Shortlist:
Lindsey Alexander, Rodeo in Reverse
Callista Buchen, Look Look Look
Eugene Gloria, Sightseer in this Killing City
Debra Kang Dean, Totem: America
Kevin McKelvey, Dream Wilderness Poems
Shari Wagner, The Farm Wife’s Almanac 

Genre Shortlist:
Maurice Broaddus, Pimp My Airship
Sofi Keren, Painted Over
Nate Powell, Come Again
Larry Sweazy, See Also Proof: A Marjorie Trumaine Mystery 

Emerging Author Shortlist:
Katie Hesterman, A Round of Robins
Sofi Keren, Painted Over
Robin Lee Lovelace, Savonne, Not Vonny
Chantel Massey, Bursting at the Seams: A Collection of Poetry
Melissa Stephenson, Driven: A White-Knuckled Drive to Heartbreak and Back
Annie Sullivan, Tiger Queen 

Nonfiction Shortlist:
Axton Betz-Hamilton, The Less People Know About Us: A Mystery of Betrayal, Family Secrets, and Stolen Identity
Robert Blaemire, Birch Bayh
Ross Gay, The Book of Delights
Nancy Kriplen, J. Irwin Miller
Bill Sullivan, Pleased to Meet Me: Genes, Germs, and the Curious Forces that Make Us Who We Are
Melissa Stephenson, Driven: A White-Knuckled Drive to Heartbreak and Back

Fiction Shortlist:
Brian Allen Carr, Opioid, Indiana
Bryan Furuness, Do Not Go On
Brian Leung, Ivy vs. Dogg: With a Cast of Thousands!
Michael Martone, The Moon Over Wapakoneta: Fictions and Science Fictions from Indiana and Beyond
Chris White, The Life List of Adrian Mandrick

Find out the winners of these categories
(as well as drama) on Sept. 1.
The awards celebrate the best books written by Indiana authors in eight categories and published in the previous two years (2018 and 2019). We’ll also announce a Literary Champion (an individual or organization honored for its contributions to the literary community) on Sept. 2.
In the meantime, follow along with us on FacebookInstagram and Twitter to learn more about the shortlisted books and authors.Learn more about the 2020 Awards
The Eugene & Marilyn Indiana Authors Awards are powered by Indiana Humanities and generously funded by Glick Philanthropies.

The Shelf Stuff – “Meet the Author” Visual Diary

Over on theshelfstuff

This week in our #ElevateBIPOCAuthors q&a series we’re featuring @MauriceBroaddus, author of #TheUsualSuspects—a honest examination about systemic profiling and what it means to break labels 📚


Okay, I have two working spaces: my indoors office (if you squint you can see my active reading pile, some of my boxes of comics (over 20,000 total!), and the active novels I’m working on) and my outdoors office (which I call my “coffeeshop” with my neighbors being the regulars).

This is one of the four bookshelves around here (not including all of my TBR stacks). Speaking of …

I typically read two books at a time, one fiction and one non-fiction (very excited to dig into N.K. Jemisin’s collection since I just wrapped up her The City We Became).

I don’t have a photo of a book from when I was a child, but here are a couple cover images. One is of the first Danny Dunn novel I ever read. I loved this book. Ended up reading most of the Danny Dunn mystery series. I loved him more than Encyclopedia Brown because he was a SCIENCE detective! Second through fourth grade, I read them. In middle school, my first love was The Wolf King. Only looking back do I see its impact on me as a writer. But it’s the first fantasy novel I remember reading.

“Behind the Book” (THE USUAL SUSPECTS) Q&A

Describe your book in one sentence!

When something goes wrong, the principal gathers The Usual Suspects and they have to clear their not-quite-good name.

What inspired you to write this story?

From the teacher’s perspective, it came from my experiences working in the Special Ed rooms when I was a substitute teacher. From the student side, it came from watching my sons navigating their way through the school system. And I wanted to see if I could write Walter Mosley for kids.

Who’s your favorite character and why?

I love most of my characters, but I have to admit that I have a soft spot for Nehemiah. He’s just so … pure. He is who he is, makes no apologies, and makes life take him on his terms.

When and where do you write?

I typically write in the mornings and if my day is pretty free, in the early afternoon after lunch. During the summer, you can catch me sitting on my porch putting pen to paper. Otherwise, I’m squirreled away in my office (home or school).

Who is this book for?

This book is for middle schoolers and anyone who’s ever been in middle school. It’s all about navigating your way through life, dealing with the challenge of the labels people try to put on you.

EXCLUSIVE: AMC has optioned the rights to Sorcerers, a novella by co-writers Maurice Broaddus and Otis Whitaker and featuring illustrations by internationally renowned artist Jim Mahfood, with plans to adapt it into a series.

The short story is a psychedelic urban fantasy about a 30-year-old man from Harlem who comes into his own as a hip hop-inspired sorcerer. It follows Malik Hutchins, the black sheep to one of the most successful families in Harlem. Malik couch-surfs with relatives, parties with his girlfriend, and ghostwrites rhymes for local rappers for a few bucks to finance his lifestyle—but when cocky Malik sells two warring rappers the same verse, he paints a target on his own back. Then on his deathbed, Malik’s beloved grandfather Pop-Pop reveals that Malik is a sorcerer, in the great tradition of African sorcery born on the plains of the rift valley before the beginning of time. Malik is thrown headlong into a quest that winds through the streets of Harlem, to the rural South, and places much farther beyond, places he’s only visited in dreams… Now it’s Malik’s turn to step up and take his place as wielder and guardian of an ancient magic passed down through generations in order to protect the family, the people of Harlem, and the world from the forces of dark magic connected to the worst aspects of American history and the fearful creatures it has unleashed.

Continue reading on Deadline

Panels, Panels, Panels (Virtual Me!)

This is the page home of my virtual appearances this year. At least those appearances that have a permanent home. Guest of Honor interviews, for example, were live-streamed but not archived.

All In: The Best of 2020 Indiana Genre

Apex Magazine Editor Q&A #1

The Spec Griot Garage: episode 12: “Speak the Truth to the People” by Mari Evans with Maurice Broaddus


Deathbuilding with Darin Kennedy, Jen Guberman, Maurice Broaddus, and Michael G. Williams

Building A Professional Community In Speculative Fiction with Quincy Allen, Emily Leverett, Emily Kaplan, and Maurice Broaddus

Toucan Tuesdays with Maurice Broaddus!


[Heightened in times of crisis, it is key for our community’s mutual survival to sustain and build authentic relationships. This conversation features local artists and creatives as they share perspectives on using art and storytelling as tools for building the future.]

Moderator: Maurice Broaddus

Panelists: Diop Adisa, Mariah Ivey, Keenan Rhodes



4th Street Fantasy

This is Fine: Making Art While the World Burns

The internet makes information and disinformation equally accessible, and media strategies make it impossible to effectively filter the deluge of horrifying news and terrible takes. After 2016, many people were walloped with the growing awareness that fascism is on the rise around the world, inundated with stories that are endlessly awful and calls to act on all of them. Here we are at another US election year occurring during an actual pandemic, and we’ve had to continually learn new strategies to cope with Our Trashfire of 2020. This is a panel to discuss how we continue to create art—and why it’s as or more important than ever—without burning ourselves out or failing to engage in the world at all.

Moderator: John Wiswell

Panelists: Maurice Broaddus, John Chu, C.L. Polk, Fran Wilde


Episode 39 – The Usual Suspect: Maurice Broaddus Just Keep Writing

WFYI Interview with Jill Ditmire

Science Fiction, Fantasy Author Maurice Broaddus On The Lessons Learned During The Pandemic

My Introductory Remarks to Bridge to Racial Unity Discussions

The Oaks Academy launched a discussion series based on “Be the Bridge.”  This is a 12-week course with the first 4-week segment focusing on the history of racism/white supremacy in the US. They wanted me to give some opening remarks to set the tone for the discussion. Here’s what I had to say:

My first day of working as a sub for the Oaks, Mrs. Dierlam introduced me to her first-grade class. She asked me about the spelling of my last name, fascinated that it had two D’s. I kinda froze and asked “do you really want to know?”

She said yes, so I explained that in tracing my family tree, I only had to go back three generations before I had to sift through receipts. It turned out that there was a spelling error on a transfer of property order and just like that, our one D family became a two D family.

I get done explaining this and I’m standing in front of this class like “Hi kids, welcome to the realities of chattel slavery … I’ll just see my way out.” But Mrs. Dierlam doesn’t miss a beat and puts my story immediately into historical context. Unafraid to have difficult conversations in the moment. That willingness is what first impressed me about the Oaks.

I’ve been having these sorts of conversation with a couple of friends of mine, one whom I went to elementary school and the other I grew up in church with. They reached out due to all of the uprising and racial strife. I thought it was telling that they had to reach out to someone who they knew thirty years ago.

You should probably know, I don’t always engage in these conversations. They require me to open up old wounds in the hope that the listener will hear my story, see my humanity, and perhaps learn. I’m not always up for that.

But I made the exception because I am in relationship with them. It became the familiar conversation. With my “friends” wanting to start from the place that they weren’t even sure that systematic racism is a thing. So, I took the opportunity to set a couple of parameters:

One, we may not be ready to have a conversation about this. If you’re at the stage where you are essentially questioning whether gravity is real to a scientist, I probably don’t have the emotional bandwidth to get you there.

Two, in the entirety of us knowing each other, you never understood that we live in the same country experiencing its systems completely differently.

What do I mean by that?

The only reason either of them knew me is because:

-First, my mother essentially tricked the bank into loaning us money. Redlining was still a thing. We were buying a house in a neighborhood on the westside where black people didn’t live. But my mom did all her business through a white male lawyer. When she went into sign the papers, with her lawyer in tow and toting my newborn baby sister with her, the banker assumed her to be the nanny. She still delights in remembering his face when her lawyer looked over the paperwork, nodded with approval, and then slid the paperwork over to her.

-Secondly, the school system I was enrolled in wanted to default me to their remedial program. My mom fought and argued with them to have me tested. They didn’t want to. Good luck arguing with my mom. When they relented and got the results back, they quite reluctantly admitted me into their Accelerated Program. The only black male in the class.

-Third, my mother insisted that me and my brother go to church. So, we went to the one within walking distance of our new house. One of only two black families attending there.

I grew up in that conservative Evangelical church from when I was in fourth grade until about halfway through college. One of the big reasons why I left was over issues of race.

While I really liked our pastor because he was such a student of the Bible, there was some questionable theology among the congregation. Besides the blue-eyed, blond Jesus iconography, there was an undercurrent of “the curse of Ham” brand of theology when it came to black people.

Your teenage years is a time for trying to figure out your identity. Who you are. Who you want to be. Church was supposed to be the place where you could ask those kind of questions. But the answers very much felt like “you are a son of God … but don’t date our daughters” because we weren’t meant to be “unequally yoked.” When I started studying the work of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. there was immediate pushback because “you know he was a womanizer and a Communist.”

Which was when I first started studying Malcolm X. Malcolm X had a profound impact on my growing worldview. My youngest son is even named for him. But at this point I was labeled as “angry” by my church and left alone. Eventually I had enough and quit the church. And white people. And joined the Nation of Islam.

And I did eventually find my way back to Jesus. But it took many years.

This part of my story stunned my church friend (btw, turns out he’s the uncle of a former staff member here. She loves the fact that I’ve been having these conversations with him). But I reminded him that he was only shocked because race was a conversation no one wanted to have. While we were studying the Israelites great exodus, he spent more time trying to identify with Israel than wrestling with the idea that his culture might be Egypt. Or how the story of Israel’s exile might have special resonance with me: a people being transported to a new land, forced to learn a new culture, and a new language in order to navigate the dominant culture. When my friend asked me about what I meant by that, my next words hurt him.

In the thirty plus years we’ve known each other, you’ve never heard my authentic voice.

From the time I started in the new school and new church, that was when the lessons of navigating white spaces were driven home. I had to act a certain way, speak a certain way, if I wanted to get ahead. Get ahead meaning allowed entry and the possibility to thrive in those spaces. The lessons so acutely learned, if a white person is in the room, I automatically code-switch.

Redlining. Code-switching. The public school system. He didn’t have to think about navigating any of this. That’s the reality of the system for him. I’ve simply learned to survive in it. The status quo serves him. It has never served me.

My work at the Oaks is one of my three full time jobs. I’m also an Afrofuturist by training (as a scientist and as a science fiction writer) and practice (as a community organizer at the Kheprw Institute). I see these times brought about by the twin pandemics of racial injustice and Covid-19 as an opportunity. To see torn down all the institutions and practices that keep us in states of inequality. This country was built on the backs of the free labor of black people and reinforced those same people not having equal say and rights from the beginning. Woven into the fabric of its systems, laws, and practices. Now is an opportunity revealing where the cracks in the system are. Where it’s not serving its citizens.

And, most importantly, as an opportunity to have the kind of conversations that have been decades in the making. Long overdue conversations. working with folks to create something new and better.

Because that’s literally my hope.

There’s this quote that I love from the book God of the Oppressed (by James Cone): “To hope in Jesus is to see the vision of his coming presence, and thus one is required by hope itself to live as if the vision is already realized in the present.” My work here at the Oaks, in the community, and in my writing all springs from a place of future hope. I live in light of who I was meant to be, who I will become, and join with God in reconciling the world back to Him by living with intentionality toward the world we want to see.

That’s my story. I can only speak for me and to my experiences. But thank you for listening.

AFROFUTURE FRIDAY: Black Futurists and Community Work

Today we’re at the intersection of technology and community work as we look at how futurity/technological concepts can be developed to specifically benefit our communities. In the age of intrusive surveillance and Big Data, how can we use technology to create the future we want to see?

We’ll be in conversation with a couple of black futurists:

Rasul Palmer stepping out from his role as co-facilitator for KI’s Afrofuture Fridays, has been working with the Kheprw Institute for 12 years. He’s the lead for their Democratizing Data initiative: an initiative to train and develop inter-generational grassroots capacity in the public data field.

Madebo Fatunde is a foresight strategist and a writer, building a practice at the intersection of arts, technology, and culture. His passion is using storytelling about the future to empower better decisions today. Some current projects of his include “The Blackchain”, a speculative future which imagines a world around a Pan-African blockchain network, and “Unmanned Ode”, a poetry collection exploring the codes of masculinity composed alongside and against a neural network. He is a member of the Foresight Practice Group at Autodesk and a founding member of The Guild of Future Architects (https://futurearchitects.com/).

AFROFUTURE FRIDAY: Black Futurists and Community Work

AFROFUTURE FRIDAY: Black Futurists and Community Work

Posted by Kheprw Institute on Friday, 10 July 2020

Futurism work creates blueprints to find new ways to understand ourselves and the world around us. And, with its Afrofuture promise, it uses technology to help paint a vivid portrait of what the world could look like.

Leave you with this quote from Octavia Butler’s Parable of the Sower: “All that you touch you Change. All that you Change Changes you. The only lasting truth is Change. God Is Change.”

Go forth and be the change.

Books mentioned:

Parable of the Sower by Octavia Butler
The Fifth Season by N.K. Jemisin
Black Leopard, Red Wolf by Marlon James
Emergent Strategies by adrienne maree brown
The Chaos Point: The world at the crossroads by Ervin Laszlo
Teaching about the Future by Peter C. Bishop and Andy Hines
Race After Technology: Abolitionist Tools for the New Jim Code by Ruha Benjamin
Thinking in Systems: A Primer by Donella H. Meadows

Afrofuture Fridays brought to you by a partnership with folks we’d like to thank:

Protests And The Value Of Disruption

We must fight oppressive systems, but, as an Afrofuturist, I’m still dreaming of better days.

Look, my thoughts are a jumbled mess after the events of the last few weeks. Mentally, physically, emotionally, and spiritually drained, I’m doing the best I can. I suspect we all are, but let me start with this:

I’m tired.

Tired because I keep having to prove my humanity every day. I’m worn out because I keep seeing the same thing over and over again. The injustice. The brutalization of black bodies. The illusory gesticulations of concern from civic leaders. The inaction. The return to silence. The false tranquility. The injustice—again. The history of Indianapolis, its police, and the black community continues to be a repeating, tragic story.

And I’m tired.

[continue reading on The Indianapolis Monthly site]