A Brief History Of My Writing in 2017 (Or, What The Hell Did I Do Last Year Anyway?)

2018. New year. Time to look back at what I actually got done last year. At least in terms of writing. I find that I was extremely busy with the day job which means I barely got any new writing done (but I really like my day job so its a fair sacrifice). In 2017, I only finished writing two new short stories one of which has been picked up by the good folks at F&SF and the other is pending editorial feedback at another venue. Thankfully, I did enough writing and submitting in 2015 and 2016 that I could maintain the illusion of still getting stuff out there.

Here is the stuff that did make it out and got published in 2017:

The Regression Test” –  Set in a future Lagos, a grumpy old woman is asked by her grandson who runs the family tech business to help test an artificial intelligence that was made to mimic the brain of her genius mother. But of course, nothing is ever simple and things don’t go as expected. This one was published in The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction (F&SF) in January 2017, has gotten good reviews and feedback, been reprinted in a special issue of The Manchester Review, and even been translated into Chinese and published in Science Fiction World (China’s leading science fiction magazine). This is the story I am most proud of from last year especially as F&SF is a magazine I truly admire and I can’t imagine a better first home for this story. I’m very grateful to C.C Finlay, who is an incredible editor.

Home is Where My Mother’s Heart is Buried” –  This is a story of two sisters, immigrants from Nigeria now living in a Mars that has been terraformed by a friendly, shapeshifting alien race, who are now considering returning home again. It appeared in FIYAH! Magazine of Black Speculative Fiction in April 2017. This is one of my most personal stories and one I had been writing and rewriting on off and on for about 5 years before it found the right home. I have been amazed by the very positive feedback it has generated. P Djeli Clark even called it one of the most memorable short stories of the Black fantastic. I’m very grateful to the guys at FIYAH for publishing it and to everyone who read it.

Nneoma” – The displaced soul of a dead man narrates the story of how he met an incredibly beautiful woman in a bar in Lagos and came to be how he is. This one is based on a story I’ve had for a while but significantly reworked for publication here and it is sort of an introduction to the character ‘Nneoma’ who also appears in I, Shigidi and may appear in future stories. Published in Space and Time in August 2017, this story has been called “Truly unsettling” by reviewers. Which is excellent.

If you enjoyed any of my stories and are nominating for any of the upcoming awards, consider nominating The Regression Test or Home Is Where My Mother’s Heart Is Buried. I love them both.

Other things that happened:

My 2016 story Wednesday’s Story was nominated for a Nommo award in 2017 and while I didn’t win, I am a big fan of both winners (Tendai Huchu and Lesley N. Arimah) and quite pleased with the result. I was also one of the winners of the All Borders are Temporary competition, organised by the Transnational Arts Production. My story “When We Dream We Are Our God” will be published in 2018 along with the other 8 winning stories.

And just at the end of the year, I finally signed a contract to publish my first collection of stories Incomplete Solutions to New Equations of AfroAlchemy with Scottish Independent Press Luna Press Publishing. This collection will contain some brand new, never-before published stories including a new science fiction novella and alternate versions of some previously published stories as well. This should come out sometime in early 2019.

All in all, looking back it was a good year and I’m quite pleased with how it turned out.

Now, I just need to find a way to get back to writing regularly…

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