Future Splendor Microgrant Winners!

Writing and the process of creating are such vital art forms and the creators of the narratives we love deserve to be supported and acknowledged for their creative contributions. 

While we, Kai & Angela of Bee Infinite, set out to create an Afrofuturist collection of poetry and short stories, we knew we wanted to offer three microgrants to support emerging Black, Indigenous and People of Color creators. We held applications and awarded three Future Splendor contributors with $200.

Now, you can hear from amazingly talented winners themselves!

Watch and enjoy our insightful and uplifting conversation and hear their work below!

Listen to the conversation

Turn the sound on and get ready to be enthralled!

Get to know Each BIPOC Creator

Alexandria Trujillo - Jordan Penland - Ariel So

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Alexandria Trujillo

Alexandria is an author living and working in Seattle, WA.

She contributed a daring poem entitled "What I Think About When I Think About Orson Scott Card is That" to Future Splendor!

 Thoughts on Afrofuturism 

"Afrofuturism, speculative fiction, and science fiction are such important genres for BIPOC voices to assert themselves in now. There’s space in these stories for us to speak openly about being an outsider looking in on what feels increasingly like an unfamiliar and unwelcoming world without having to speak strictly to historical experiences. We can use the genres to shape new worlds or reimagine the existing ones in a way that is gentler."
 

 Major Influences 

"A major influence on my writing has been Lucille Clifton, whose poem I nod to in “What I Think About When I Think About Orson Scott Card is That”. In particular, it is her agency and clear voice that I strive to infuse into my own work. And the work is kind of unapologetically angry and tense, but delicate in a similar way to hers."

 

 Creative Writing Goals 

"This year I am finishing my first novel, a border story horror/sci-fi about el Chupacabra, and then hopefully working on a longer collection of poetry."
 

 Connect with Alexandria  via byalexandriatrujillo.com and on Instagram @alythenerd

Jordan Penland

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Jordan is a half-Black, half-Ecuadorian writer/artist from Los Angeles, CA. He contributed a short story entitled "Emily Rages Against Her Machine" to Future Splendor!

 Thoughts on Afrofuturism 

"The beauty of Afrofuturism, science fiction, and speculative fiction is that it allows us as black creatives to conceptualize the sort of future we want ourselves and others to experience. There is a power in fiction as it allows us to shun this perception of what we believe the world is, in favor of what we want the world to be. I believe this is valuable because living in modern society can feel a bit demoralizing if you pay any sort of attention to what's going on long enough. However, through storytelling, we can condition ourselves to believe that the world can be better and that ideas we once thought fictitious might not be as unobtainable as once thought.

Just as important though, however, I simply believe that speculative fiction allows writers to experiment in fun. One of my biggest complaints about the literature we read in academia surrounding the black experience is that it is usually catered to be bleak and harsh as a means of relaying our struggle. And while I do believe this is important, it can paint an overly negative portrayal of what it is to be a black person. We are not just our oppression, and we have stories to tell that are vibrant, funny, and full of the life that has allowed our people to overcome despite the harshness of our world."
 

 Major Influences 

"For “Emily Rages Against Her Machine” the main message was built around the idea that anyone can fight back. Emily as a main character, by her design, is not unique in any particular way. She’s an average 20 something that grapples with the same feelings of inadequacy and aimlessness that I know many of us do. But despite this, she overcomes her fears and takes a stand against her supernatural oppressors without knowing she can win. Too often I have allowed defeatist ideologies to keep me from acting, and as a result, I have missed out on opportunities to make a genuine change. It is only when I overcame this negative way of thinking, that I was able to stand up and put in the effort necessary to see any sort of ripple. The end results weren’t always what I expected, but I am better for having tried. Emily is imbued with this same mindset.

The influence on the story’s setting is inspired by the multitude of anime and cartoons I love so much. Despite the genuine pathos I wanted to convey with Emily, I never wanted the world itself to feel miserable and without creative fun. Sentient Giraffe Heads, little brothers stuck in television sets, Plant-Human Hybrid crushes; all of these were put in because they seemed like they would add colorful layers to the story. This goes back to my belief in the value of speculative fiction in terms of Afrofuturism. We should be allowed to show that there are struggles we must overcome by our nature, however, this does not mean there isn’t any joy to be had on the way there."
 

 Creative Writing Goals 

"Currently, where I am at right now, I want to further push this intersection of creative
writing and visual media. A lot of my work recently has been visual art pieces. While it may appear that I have forsaken the written craft, this is not the case. Fiction writing allows me to have a template for the art. I’m still writing, but instead of finalizing it into a story, I’m deconstructing it so it may take new form as an art piece. As far as tangible goals,  I want to have my writing/art be sustainable as a full-time pursuit, which entails having my work keep being published by magazines and organizations like Bee Infinite Publishing. Ones that have a similar vision for the betterment of BIPOCs through the use of art and storytelling."

 Connect with Jordan  via his website and on Instagram @mostlymildmidnightmocha

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Ariel So

Ariel is a poet originally from Hong Kong, currently pursuing an MFA

She contributed poems entitled "Coffee-stained shirt" and "Portal Worlds" to Future Splendor!

 Thoughts on Afrofuturism 

"I strongly believe that Afrofuturism, science fiction, and speculative fiction are elements that are crucial to how we all come to create a vision for not only how to live, but also to carry out new modes of living in our culture and society. Many movements of progress have stemmed from first imagining and dreaming of these very possibilities. So long as we strive to voice what we aim to see in the future, hopefully, we may begin to create the changes we want to spur from ideas into action—and from our inner minds into our outer universe."
 

 Major Influences 

"One of my major influences includes "Parable of the Sower" by Octavia E. Butler. Her science-fiction novel, even though written in 1993, remains relevant to our times—whether that is regarding climate change, like forest fires, or a world gone awry due to humanity's own wrongdoings. I'm heavily interested in the ideas of a pre and post-apocalyptic world, envisioning both the time of the Covid-19 pandemic, along with what life would entail after this so-called "new normal" we are collectively engaged in. I've come to believe that while sometimes our state of reality may seem to tear us apart—it can also, in return, pull us closer together."

 Creative Writing Goals 
"I was recently admitted into the MFA Poetry Program at Columbia University for Fall 2021. I hope to enroll in the degree for the next 2-3 years in order to pursue my creating writing goals, including submitting my own work to publications; refining a thesis on deeply personal topics of home, trauma, memory; and eventually publishing my own books. I intend to keep writing daily to hone in on my craft while connecting with peers in the writing community. The BIPOC writing community is especially important to me, as someone who grew up in Asia, but have studied and lived in the United States for more than seven years. It is for this reason that I seek to find solidarity through those with similar and different backgrounds, such as by joining BIPOC-centered groups (Protest Through Poetry, The Root Slam, and Kundiman)."

 Connect with Ariel  via on Instagram @ari.so

Read the full collection 

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