We were thrilled to be joined by Tade Thompson, author of the award-winning Rosewater trilogy, for a special Q&A session with students studying on our MA Contemporary Literature and Culture and MA Creative and Critical Writing on 16th November 2020. We had studied Rosewater (2016), the first novel in the trilogy, as a recent example of what Natalia Cecire and Sam Solomon have termed the utopian “mycological promise” of fungi, in which natural, ancient, and magical energy systems convert decay and waste into nitrogen-fixing, plant-sustaining mycelium. Thompson’s trilogy depicts an alien fungal network known as Wormwood that is described as “protecting, nurturing” and is capable of miraculously healing, or worsening the conditions of, disabled people who visit it. Students explored Rosewater within the context of contemporary environmental posthumanism, as a narrative that deconstructs species boundaries between the human, the fungal, and the alien to offer an Afrofuturist speculative vision of what radical botanists and posthumanist theorists would call “becoming-plant,” reanimating the monstrous vegetal in contemporary ecocatastrophe narratives.
A huge thank you to Tade for graciously offering his time after a full day's work during a very busy period of the Covid-19 lockdown!
You can watch the full Q&A below, which was chaired by Dr Caroline Edwards and Dr Sean O'Brien, both lecturers at Birkbeck.
Featured image by RAS News and Events shared under a CC BY-NC-ND license.