Today’s show began with good and bad news. The good stuff included Nalo Hopkinson winning the Andre Norton Award for Best YA Novel of 2013 at last weekend’s Nebula Awards ceremony. It also included the really good news that Ahad & Anum Rizvi, the two young Pakistanis whose plight I highlighted last week, have been released from detention and will be having their applications for asylum reconsidered.
The bad news was that today’s programming has been dedicated to our of our regular presenters, DJ Flora, who died from cancer yesterday. She was younger than me. Because she presented a late-night show I hardly ever saw her, but many of the staff at the station were very upset about it. There’s an official tribute to her on the Ujima website.
However, the show must go on, and the first hour today was devoted to discussion of the trans-Atlantic slave trade, and Bristol’s role therein. My main guest in the studio was Dr. Olivette Otele from Bath Spa University who is a well known expert in the history of slavery. Alongside her we welcomed three young people from Cotham School who were with us on a work experience placement. I’m really pleased with how it went. And thanks to Olivette we had some great music. I played Bob Marley’s “Redemption Song”, Billie Holliday’s “Strange Fruit” (one of the most disturbing songs I know) and Louis Armstrong’s “Go Down Moses”. It was great to see the kids’ faces light up with recognition when they heard Satchmo’s voice.
The fourth piece of music was Violin Concerto #9 by Joseph Bologne, Le Chevalier de Saint-Georges, played by the Orchestre de Chambre, Bernard Thomas. Saint-Georges is an amazing fellow who really ought to be better known. Those of you setting books in revolutionary France should take note. I also want to see books about Nanny Maroon, one of the other amazing people that Olivette introduced us to.
The discussion includes an appeal to George Ferguson to get Bristol to do more to acknowledge, apologize for, and memorialize the city’s role in the slave trade. You can learn more about the history of Bristol’s involvement in the trade from the M-Shed website.
You can listen to the first hour of the show via Ujima’s Listen Again feature here.
I note that this was the first time I call recall having someone text the studio to tell us how much they were enjoying the show.
The second hour was given over to fiction. I had Jo Hall in the studio to promote her new novel, The Art of Forgetting: Nomad, which is being launched at Forbidden Planet, Bristol on Saturday. That was followed by an interview with Karen Lord that I had recorded during Åcon. I still have the much longer interview that Karen and I did as part of the convention program. I’m hoping to get that edited and on Salon Futura soon.
Jo got music appropriate for epic fantasy. Bat for Lashes was a no-brainer (I played “Horses of the Sun”, because I had played “Horse and I” a few weeks ago and didn’t want to repeat). The other song I chose was “Killer on the Rampage” by Eddy Grant, because I was teasing Jo about the number of people she killed off in the book. (Really, George would be proud. Whole towns massacred.) Jo’s soundtrack for the new book, which we mentioned in the show, is available here.
Karen had asked for jazz, which I was very happy to provide. I’m sorry we didn’t have time to play either track in full. The two tracks were: “Mercy, Mercy, Mercy” by the Cannoball Adderley Quintet; and “Stolen Moments” by Oliver Nelson.
Any discussion of SF&F on the show is liable to get into name-dropping of people we know. Jo enthused about Joe Abercrombie. I invoked Juliet McKenna when we got on the question of discoverability of women writers. And Kate Elliott needs to listen to the Karen Lord interview.
You can listen to the second hour of the show here.
Next week most of the show is being run by Jackie and Judeline, but I will have half an hour with Kevlin Henney talking about flash fiction. Kevlin won the flash competition run by Crimefest last weekend, which pleased me greatly.