Acacia, the robust, sprawling new fantasy by David Anthony Durham, was recently mentioned in one of Paul DiFi's posts that referenced an article about Readercon and the representation of writers of color in the SF community. I had the pleasure of interviewing Durham in-depth earlier this summer, and I thought I'd post it here for those interested in his thoughts on race and SF, among other things.
[Added: In the comments section, there is a generous offer of a free copy of Acacia from the novel's publicist!]
PW: You’re known as a historical novelist; your previous novel was the well-received Pride of Carthage. Was moving into epic fantasy a natural step for you? Certainly the novel reveals a writer with a deep familiarity and affection for the genre.
DAD: Thanks for saying that. It did feel very natural to me. I loved fantasy as an adolescent—Tolkein, LeGuin, Lewis, Alexander, Donaldson—and took great joy in rediscovering it as an adult—most notably with George RR Martin’s works. Reading Martin I’m aware I’m in the hands of an intelligent writer with a great grasp of literature and wonderful gifts as a storyteller, someone who is going to take me on a long journey with quite a few surprises along the way. I felt the same reading science fiction writers like Neal Stephenson, Neil Gaiman, and Frank Herbert. I read Dune for the first time about three years ago. A few chapters in, I realized with glee that I hadn’t enjoyed reading a novel as much since . . . well, since I was young and reading fantasy. That combination of being challenged, being spoken to as a reader with an intellect, but also being sent on a voyage overtly of the imagination was like a reawakening to what storytelling is (and always has been) really about. I knew that’s what I’d been working toward in my historical fiction, but I hungered to be let loose to explore an alternative world. Acacia is that world.