In this two-part episode, “Legendborn + Legendmaking,” bestselling author and Coretta Scott King-John Steptoe award recipient Tracy Deonn discusses her fantasy novel Legendborn. Created in light of Deonn’s understanding of folklore, magic, and the fantasy genre as political, the novel blends the fantastical and the contemporary to address grief, race, and the tension between complicated histories and the present. With host Melody Hunter Pillion, Deonn addresses the complex and tragic truths in genealogical study, the parallel stories and experiences that can arise on a college campus, the mythology of the South, and the joy in eating a pineapple popsicle.
Tracy Deonn is the New York Times and Coretta Scott King – John Steptoe Award winning author of Legendborn, and a second-generation fangirl. She grew up in central North Carolina, where she devoured fantasy books and Southern food in equal measure. Tracy is a contributor in the 40th Anniversary The Empire Strikes Back anthology, From a Certain Point of View from Del Rey/Star Wars books. In addition to being a featured expert in the 2019 Star Wars fandom SyFy Channel docu-series Looking for Leia, Tracy was also a co-writer and consulting producer. Her nonfiction essay about growing up Black and geeky, Black Girl, Becoming, was published in the 2018 anthology, Our Stories, Our Voices.
Tracy successfully persuaded her Master’s committee at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill to allow her to write both her thesis paper and a fully-produced, award-winning play about Superman, West African myths, and secret identities. After earning her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in communication and performance studies from UNC, Tracy worked in live theater, video game production, and K–12 education. As an instructor, Tracy taught theater to middle and undergraduate students, and creative and academic writing at the university level. When she’s not writing, Tracy speaks on panels at science fiction and fantasy conventions, reads fanfic, arranges puppy playdates, and keeps an eye out for ginger-flavored everything.