“She’s a powerful writer with an imagination that most of us would kill for. I have read everything she has written and am in awe of her many gifts. And her. When Nalo Hopkinson, Canada’s popular fantasy fiction writer, first learned that her Brown Girl in the Ring, the title of Hopkinson’s first novel (published by. Novel Brown Girl in the Ring, by Nalo Hopkinson. I’ve been telling people about Nalo Hopkinson’s book. It is great.” -OCTAVIA BUTLER “Impressive, energetic.

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Delany, was black, she cried. This was back in the early s, when Hopkinson first considered embarking upon a writing career. Also, a man who in the Caribbean we would call mad. Yet, the novel valued his life. Nalo Hopkinson was born in Jamaica in and lived in several Caribbean countries and the United States before settling in Canada in She is the author of three stunningly original novels that have earned her a following of avid fans — and critical acclaim.

Her second book, Midnight Robberpublished inearned Nali and Nebula nominations and was named a New York Times notable book of the year.

Brown Girl in the Ring

Over the phone from Vancouver, where she is currently a writer-in-residence at the University of British Columbia, one can hear in her voice the dancing rhythms of her various island homes — and the source for the arresting music of her prose. It is obvious that she has changed the rules of the game. Whereas conventional science fiction has tended to draw on classical European traditions, Hopkinson constructs her worlds from African culture.

It refers to a popular circle game in which a group of girls form a circle while one of them dances in the centre. It may sound paradoxical, but as far as she is concerned sci-fi and fantasy are the only genres that realistically depict the lives of outsiders. In mimetic fiction the world is not reflecting me back to myself. Reading mimetic fiction just feels to nali like more depression.

Hopkinson makes the significant point that people who are not reflected in the culture in which they live can become bitterly lonely.


Brown girl in the ring

It is certainly one reason she hopkinsin compelled to write fantasy fiction. Another is her belief that science fiction suggests the possibility of a universal paradigm shift: This is immensely hopeful. Fennintroduces three such characters: Mer, a respected slave on an 18th-century plantation in St. All three figures are inhabited, in their different eras, by incarnations of Ezili, African goddess of love and sex. On the plantation, Mer endures a steady diet of cruelty and meagre rations.

Even so, she adores Tipingee, the slavewoman who is her friend and her lover. While Tipingee and Mer enjoy passionate sex, Brodn is still very much in love with her husband.

But Hopkinson is eager to demonstrate the full humanity of the slaves. She wants to show that they experienced love and sex, not just sadness and pain. It nlo her body. All her hair fell out. Still, I wanted to show her as somebody who loved and who needed to be loved. She has managed to piece together an intriguing account of Duval, which led to an exploration of a little-known aspect of French history: Magic realism may be a more apt browb.

You fall down a rabbit hole. Magic realism is right here.

For most readers, science fiction is like black licorice — you love it or you hate it. But Hopkinson writes the kind of stories that transcend literary boundaries. Her rinh perspective sits her squarely alongside Toni Morrison and Alice Walker. And her preoccupation with exile and the Caribbean powerfully evokes Jamaica Kincaid. Interestingly, Hopkinson says she has read very little in the way of African American literature. Nor is she a particularly disciplined writer. Being my own secretary takes up much of my day.

And besides, I hate to work. Only guilt and deadlines can motivate me to write. But she continues to wonder when this increasingly significant genre will earn the respect she believes it deserves. Some of the schools even had clear proscriptions against science fiction. They say it is commercial and formulaic, that hopoinson is not considered literature. She finds the same kind of prejudice prevalent everywhere within the book industry.

Many of the prestigious literary awards will not consider it. Many mainstream writers who occasionally write science fiction take pains to publicly distance themselves from the genre. This all negatively affects the writers and the field.


Brown girl in the ring | Quill and Quire

Teaching provides a chief source of secondary income for Hopkinson, though it follows that science fiction writers tend to snag the less prestigious — and less lucrative — positions. Although Hopkinson says she currently earns enough income to support herself, her financial situation is tight. But I am fairly optimistic, nalp my income is going up.

That may have something to do rihg the high expectations surrounding the new book. Her father, Slade,was a professor of classical literature and an actor and poet of some renown.

Her mother was a librarian. Their home was always filled with books. Hopkinson read whatever volume she came across, including Homer and Shakespeare. Her introduction to science fiction came when she was about eight. Wat a joyful news, mis Mattie, I feel like me heart gwine burs Jamaica people colonizin Rijg in reverse…. Man an woman, old an young Jus a pack dem bag and baggage An turn history upside dung! What a devilment a Englan! Dem face war an brave de worse, But me wonderin how dem gwine stan Colonizin in reverse.

With such a vital literary start it might seem that Hopkinson had no choice but to become a writer. But the idea penetrated only slowly, long after she settled in Canada, finished high school, and completed a degree in Russian and French. And I can remember thinking, every so often, that particular sentence would sound better written another way. But these thoughts were fleeting. I would shut them down as soon as they came. Most of the time I was lonely.

Now, in a way that surprises Hopkinson no less than anyone else, she is contributing to those legends herself, and her work has become the benchmark for a new school of fantasy writers. My universe had doubled in size. Wat a joyful news, mis Mattie, I feel like me heart gwine burs Jamaica people colonizin Englan in reverse… What an islan!

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