African American Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers
Tananarive Due reads from one of her books at the Brooklyn Book Festival, 17 September 2011. Photo courtesy of editrrix/www.flickr.com.
While working as a journalist for the Miami Herald, Tananarive Due (b. 1966) finished her first novel, The Between. A suspense story set in a Florida African American community, The Between was nominated for the Bram Stoker Award in 1996, and launched Due's career as a writer whose work explored both the history of the African Diaspora and the emerging trend of speculative and supernatural fiction. Her 1997 follow-up My Soul to Keep—also nominated for a Stoker award—was the first in her African Immortals series, in which a brotherhood of powerful undead warriors clash in an ancient battle between good and evil. Due collaborated with her husband Steven Barnes and actor Blair Underwood on the Tennyson Hardwick mystery series, while her short stories have been featured in multiple science fiction and fantasy journals and anthologies. Among them, "Patient Zero" (2000) stands out as a harbinger of the apocalyptic themes so popular in early 21st century science fiction. In it, a young boy records his experiences while living in a research facility in the midst of a plague that wipes out most of humanity. Due became the Cosby Chair in the Humanities at Spelman College in Atlanta, and has also taught creative writing at Antioch College in Los Angeles. In 2013, Due's work expanded into film production when she and Barnes collaborated to produce Danger Word, an independent film based on an excerpt from their novel Devil's Wake, in which a man and his granddaughter must survive a zombie plague.