Today’s guest is Dr. Ebony Elizabeth Thomas (@ebonyteach) author of the new book The Dark Fantastic: Race and The Imagination From Harry Potter To The Hunger Games (@NYUpress).

The Dark Fantastic is an engaging and provocative exploration of race in popular youth and young adult speculative fiction. Grounded in her experiences as YA novelist, fanfiction writer, and scholar of education, Thomas considers four black girl protagonists from some of the most popular stories of the early 21st century: Bonnie Bennett from the CW’s The Vampire Diaries, Rue from Suzanne Collins’s The Hunger Games, Gwen from the BBC’s Merlin, and Angelina Johnson from J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter. Analyzing their narratives and audience reactions to them reveals how these characters mirror the violence against black and brown people in our own world.

During our conversation, we discuss current Black fantasy authors, the need for more representation by Black authors in fantasy and science fiction, the inspiration for the book and much more.

This episode is also a crossover episode for my new podcast, What is Black? 

Listen to both podcasts on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher and Google Play.

Author bio:

Ebony Elizabeth Thomas is Associate Professor in the Literacy, Culture, and International Educational Division at the University of Pennsylvania’s Graduate School of Education. A former Detroit Public Schools teacher and National Academy of Education/Spencer Foundation Postdoctoral Fellow, she is an expert on diversity in children’s literature, youth media, and fan studies.

Books discussed during this episode:

Children of Blood and Bone by Toni Adeyemi

Dread Nation by Justina Ireland

A Blade So Black by L.L. McKinney

The Belles by Dhonielle Clayton

The Summer Prince by Alaya Dawn Johnson

Tristan Strong Punches A Hole in the Sky by Kwame Mbalia

Black Leopard Red Wolf by Marlon James

Other references:

Dr. Kimberle Crenshaw : Discussion about intersectionality and race:

Dr. Debbie Reese: American Indians in Children’s Literature

To learn more about the books and authors discussed in this podcast, please check out your local library or bookstore.

Links mentioned in the episode

What is Black?

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