How do we move children’s fantasy beyond the racialized and imperialist norms of the genre? In this interactive presentation, author/educator Zetta Elliott will discuss “the trouble with magic.” After spending her childhood consuming British fantasy fiction, Elliott began to decolonize her imagination and has dedicated her writing life to reconstituting “Black magic” as a powerful force to be celebrated rather than defeated. Elliott uses the historical fantasy genre to revise, review and reclaim the (often traumatic) histories of Atlantic enslavement and colonization. She is also an advocate for community-based publishing and will reveal how print-on-demand technology transfers power from the industry’s gatekeepers to those excluded from the publishing process.
Born in Canada, Zetta Elliott moved to the US in 1994 to pursue her Ph.D. in American studies at NYU. Her essays have appeared in the Huffington Post, School Library Journal, and Publishers Weekly. She is the author of over 25 books for young readers, including the award-winning picture books Bird and Melena’s Jubilee. Her own imprint, Rosetta Press, generates culturally relevant stories that center children who have been marginalized, misrepresented, and/or rendered invisible in traditional children’s literature. Elliott is an advocate for greater diversity and equity in publishing. She currently lives in Brooklyn.