Hello Uprooters! Welcome to The Seedling, brought to you by The Uproot Project.
I’m Aya de León, a climate novelist and activist in the California Bay Area and I’m organizing fiction writers to disrupt the current climate fiction narrative. As you all probably know, what we call “climate fiction” or CliFi is mostly science fiction and fantasy dystopias, set in the future. What most of these stories share in common is that their dystopian societies presuppose that we fail to address the climate emergency in the here and now. It’s a literature of failure, —of “no, we can’t.” It reinforces our collective hopelessness that the forces we are currently up against will defeat us, so why bother to fight?
We need new stories. Stories of collective action for winning in the here and now. I started by writing contemporary climate fiction about people of color who get politicized by the climate crisis. Since 2019, I’ve published five books of climate fiction. My books have increasingly bold endings: going from individual political awakening to passing sweeping climate legislation or implementing climate reparations. But one author is not enough. So I founded Fighting Chance Books, a new climate justice fiction imprint at She Writes Press. Fighting Chance will publish novels for adults by writers of all genders that tell stories of people taking collective action in the here and now to solve the climate crisis. As an author, I’m at work on THE LAST CONCERT ON EARTH, about climate and reproductive justice, which Fighting Chance will publish in Summer/Fall ’23. This will be the first of five titles for Fighting Chance's inaugural year, and we hope to expand moving forward. I am currently acquiring titles for our 2023/24/25 lists and am eager to take pitches from both agented and unagented authors. Fighting Chance is open to all popular genres: crime fiction, romance, sci-fi/fantasy, women’s fiction, and beyond. Fighting Chance will have a zero-carbon footprint model with only ebooks and audiobooks. Our compensation model is accordingly modest, but our turnaround will be faster than the rest of the industry. It is, after all, a climate emergency. We need these stories now.
In many ways, this idea blossomed at an online conference entitled Black Literature vs. the Climate Emergency which I organized (available on YouTube). In the fiction session, I had a conversation with Tory Stephens of Grist/Fix and Maya Lily of The Years Project. I had been chewing on this idea, but it was only in dreaming in community that it could really come alive.
Until January 2023, Fighting Chance will only take solicited pitches and the Uproot community is on my list of authors I want to hear from now! Do you have an idea for a climate justice novel? Have you always wanted to venture into climate fiction? Please contact me via email at CliFi@SheWritesPress.com and put UPROOT in the subject line. This email and our landing page FightingChanceBooks.com will go live on July 21st. I look forward to hearing from you!