Black Utopias, Forecast and New Suns

Hello, how are you doing? Spring is coming where I am and it’s all taking off. Here’s a round up of the utopian books and events on my radar this week.

Black Utopias, Jayna Brown

I was excited to receive my copy of new release Black Utopias by Jayna Brown this weekend. I pre-ordered after spotting a tweet from the author and I have a copy in my hands now too! I’ve come for the interpretation of Octavia E. Butler and Samuel R. Delany’s speculative fiction but I’ll stay for the Black women mystics and Sun Ra.

Arrived here too!

Forecast by Invisible Dust

Coming up this week (3rd – 7th March 2021), Invisible Dust are presenting Forecast, a series of online events, performances and screenings. Invisible Dust is an organisation bringing artists and scientists together for creative projects and discussion on environment and climate change.

I’ve tried to pick out a few events to highlight but honestly it all looks amazing. I love the questions being posed for the panel discussions: What is shaping how you think about the planet’s future? How can we use the past to understand the future? What will our view of nature bring to the future? Who chooses our future and how? Then there are all the fascinating artist projects being showcased too.

Contributors hail from all over the world, which is brilliant to see. This is as it should be for a programme of events on climate change and the future but often isn’t the case.

I’m hoping to catch a couple of lunchtime events live but the early evening events are at an awkward time for me (dinner time and bedtime for our 4yo, not a time when I can get away with watching stuff on my computer when we’re all in the flat together). Luckily, there’s a weekend pass giving access to all the recordings from 9pm on Fri 5th March to 11pm Sun 7th March (GMT). Even so, I know I won’t get enough time over one weekend to catch as much of it as I want to.

New Suns: A Feminist Literary Festival

I just found out about the New Suns festival happening virtually at the Barbican this weekend, 5-7 March 2021. The whole weekend is dedicated to exploring the legacy of Octavia E. Butler’s science fiction, in particular the Earthseed series. It’s a clash with Forecast of course but the New Suns pass gives access to recordings until the end of the day on Tuesday 9th so I’m hoping to find enough hours to squeeze in both.

Events I definitely do not want to miss are: the screening of Donna Haraway: Story Telling for Earthly Survival, which I’ve wanted to watch for ages; the keynote talk ‘The Parables of Octavia Butler: adrienne maree brown in conversation with Ama Josephine Budge’ (adrienne maree brown’s book Pleasure Activism is on my want-to-read list); and the workshop on journaling/diary writing with London Review of Books.