2015 Otherwise Award Fellowships Winners

We are pleased to announce the selection of two Otherwise Fellows: Elizabeth LaPensée and Walidah Imarisha. LaPensée expresses herself through writing, design, and art in games, comics, and animation. Imarisha is an educator, editor, writer, organizer and spoken word artist. Both these creators are stretching the boundaries of speculative fiction by telling new stories and exploring new media through which stories can be told.

The Otherwise Fellowship program, created earlier this year, is designed to provide support and recognition for the new voices who are making visible the forces that are changing our view of gender today. Each Fellow will receive $500. The work produced as a result of this support will be recognized and promoted by the Otherwise Award.

With the support of her Otherwise Fellowship, LaPensée plans to create content for Spacecanoe, her story game that includes an alternate reality where people choose what varying expressions of gender they are happiest with and any arrangement of partnership that makes them happiest from moment to moment. This world reflects the views of certain Indigenous cultures present and active today. The game serves as an interactive and artful expression of this way of living and knowing.

Walidah Imarisha is working on several projects that work with the concept of visionary science fiction. One project is a new collection of poetry called Tubman’s Uncertainty Principle. These poems explore Black women’s freedom struggles historically, currently, and futuristically through a poetic framework of quantum physics. Imarisha is also is writing a novel that expands on her short story “Black Angel,” originally published in the anthology Octavia’s Brood.

We intend to continue to provide Fellowships in future years. Over time, the Fellowship program will create a network of Fellows who can build connections, provide mutual support, and find opportunities for collaboration. This effort will complement the on-going work of the Award — that is, the celebration of speculative fiction that expands and explores gender roles in thought-provoking, imaginative, and occasionally infuriating ways. The Otherwise Award is intended to reward those writers who are bold enough to contemplate shifts and changes in gender roles, a fundamental aspect of any society.

The selection committee for this year’s Otherwise Fellowships was made up of Otherwise Motherboard members Alexis Lothian and Debbie Notkin, Otherwise Award winner Nisi Shawl, and inaugural Otherwise Fellow micha cárdenas.

If you would like to donate to the fund for future Otherwise Fellowships, you can do so here. Let us know if you would like your donation to support the Fellowships program specifically.