Discover the world of Cuban science fiction at a bilingual reading with Erick J. Mota and Yoss, whose far-out work is featured in the May issue of Words without Borders edited by Esther Allen and Hillary Gulley. Deji Bryce Olukotun (Nigerians in Space) will moderate a discussion with Mota, Yoss, and Cuban science fiction scholar Yasmín S. Portales-Machado about this exciting literary frontier. Reception to follow.
Deji Bryce Olukotun is the author of Nigerians in Space, a thriller about brain drain from Africa. His short story “We Are the Olfanauts” was published in the fiction collection Watchlist: 32 Short Stories by Persons of Interest in 2015 (O/R Books). His work has been featured in Electric Literature, Quartz, Guernica, and ESPN. Deji is an attorney with a background in human rights and technology who works at the digital rights organization Access Now. Before that, he defended writers around the world at PEN American Center with support from the Ford Foundation. A sequel to Nigerians in Space will be published in 2017 by Unnamed Press.
Erick J. Mota completed a BA in physics at the University of Havana and a course on creative writing at the Onelio Jorge Cardoso Center. His work includes the short story collection Algunos recuerdos que valen la pena (2010), the novel Habana Anderguater (Atom Press, 2010), and the novella Bajo Presión, which won the 2007 Edad de Oro award. He was a finalist of the 2013 Ignotus Prize, and a recipient of the Calendario award and the TauZero award. His short stories have been published in the international anthologies 2099 and 2099-b (Ediciones Irreverentes, 2012), Malditos bastardos (Ediciones La Palma, 2014), Cuba in Splinters (O/R Books, 2014), and Terra Nova: The Anthology of Contemporary Science Fiction (Sportula, 2014). His story “For a few extra watts” was selected by the Spanish Association of Fantasy, Science Fiction and Horror for inclusion in Fabricantes de sueños (2014), an anthology of the best Spanish-language science fiction. He created Disparo en Red, an electronic science fiction and fantasy magazine that he edited from 2004 until 2008.
Yasmín S. Portales-Machado is a science fiction scholar, gay rights activist, and a freelance journalist for cubaliteraria.cu and havanatimes.org. She is the coordinator in Cuba of the “Anticapitalism and Emergent Sociability” Work Group of the Latin American Council for the Social Sciences and founder of the Cuban Digital Humanities Network. Her blog is: yasminsilvia.blogspot.com.
Yoss is an essayist, critic, and writer of realism, science fiction, and heroic fantasy. He is considered to be the most significant contemporary fantasy writer from Cuba. His work has been awarded numerous prizes, both in Cuba and abroad, and has appeared in various national and international anthologies. To date, he has published over thirty books in Cuba and around the world, and his work has been translated into English, French, Italian, Polish, and Japanese. Yoss holds a degree in biology from the University of Havana. He has been a participant in the Oscar Hurtado, Julio Verne, and El Negro Hueco fantasy and science fiction workshops, and he founded the Espiral and Espacio Abierto workshops. An active teacher, he has led seminars and workshops in Chile, the UK, Italy, Spain, and Andorra; he is also a frequent participant in international science fiction and fantasy conferences. Between 2005 and 2008 he was the Spanish editor in chief of The H, a bilingual magazine about the city of Havana. Between 2012 and 2013 he was the author of the blog La llaga (a place to put your finger), which can be found at www.eforyatocha.com. Since 2007, he has been the singer for the heavy metal band TENAZ.
Image: Douglas Pérez, "Pictopía III: Still I Have a Dream," 2009 Oil on canvas 63 x 93 3/4 in. Courtesy of the Shelley and Donald Rubin Private Collection.