Andrea Hairston is a Professor of Theatre at Smith College where she directs, teaches playwriting, and African, African American, and Caribbean theatre literature. A playwright, director, actor, and musician, she is the Artistic Director of Chrysalis Theatre and has produced original theatre with music, dance, and masks for over twenty-five years. Her plays have been produced at Yale Rep, Rites and Reason, the Kennedy Center, StageWest, and on Public Radio & Public Television. She has also translated plays by Michael Ende and Kaca Celan from German to English.
Since 1997, her plays produced by Chrysalis Theatre, Soul Repairs, Lonely Stardust, and Hummingbird Flying Backward, have been science fiction plays. Archangels of Funk, a SF theatre jam, garnered her a Massachusetts Cultural Council Fellowship for 2003.
Her speculative novel, Mindscape, excerpted in Dark Matter: Reading The Bones, an anthology of African diasporic speculative fiction edited by Sheree R. Thomas and published by Warner Books in 2004, will be published in 2006 by Aqueduct Press. Griots of the Galaxy, a short story, appears in So Long Been Dreaming: Postcolonial Visions of the Future an anthology edited by Nalo Hopkinson and Uppinder Mehan and published in August 2004 by Arsenal Pulp Press. An essay, 'Octavia Butler--Praise Song to a Prophetic Artist,' will be included in Daughters of Earth ed. by Justine Larbalestier, forthcoming in 2006. She is currently working on a new novel, Exploding in Slow Motion, for which she received the 2004 Speculative Literature Foundation's Older Writer Grant.
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Paperback: 448 pages
Publisher: Aqueduct Press; First edition (February 28, 2011)
Product Dimensions: 9 x 6.1 x 1.1 inches
Redwood and Wildfire is a novel of what might have been. At the turn of the 20th century, minstrel shows transform into vaudeville, which slides into moving pictures. Hunkering together in dark theatres, diverse audiences marvel at flickering images. This ''dreaming in public'' becomes common culture and part of what transforms immigrants and ''native'' born into Americans. Redwood, an African American woman, and Aidan, a Seminole Irish man, journey from Georgia to Chicago, from haunted swampland to a ''city of the future.'' Gifted performers and hoodoo conjurors, they struggle to call up the wondrous world they imagine, not just on stage and screen, but on city streets, in front parlours, in wounded hearts. The power of hoodoo is the power of the community that believes in its capacities to heal and determine the course of today and tomorrow. Living in a system stacked against them, Redwood and Aidan s power and talent are torment and joy. Their search for a place to be who they want to be is an exhilarating, painful, magical adventure. Blues singers, filmmakers, haints, healers.
''Andrea Hairston's writing has the capacity to take you places you had no idea you even wanted to go until she drops you down where you least expected and invites you to make yourself at home. Redwood and Wildfire carries us along on an amazing journey of struggle and spirit, love and loss, its wisdom ultimately coming from Hairston's extraordinary ability to illuminate the mysterious power that only comes with surrender to the things we know, but can't always see. For her long time admirers, this is the book we've been waiting for her to write. For those just discovering her work, welcome to a brand new world. Andrea Hairston has been waiting for you.'' --Pearl Cleage, What Looks Like Crazy On An Ordinary Day and Baby Brother's Blues
Format: Paperback, 452pp
Pub. Date: March 2006
Publisher: Aqueduct Press
It is over one hundred years after the fall of a mysterious Barrier divided Earth into Los Santos, New Ouagadougou, Paradigma, and an uninhabited Wilder'ness. Corridors open at seasonal intervals allowing limited interzonal travel, otherwise only mutant Vermittler (German for go-between) can penetrate the Barrier and travel the Zones at will. Airplanes, radio waves, missiles, and submarines cannot get over, under, or through the Barrier. It vaporizes anything which attempts non-corridor penetration. Each Zone is faced with crises: food shortages, incur'able diseases, social unrest, spiritual chaos, scientific, political, and artistic stagnation, and environmental degra'dation.
Elleni, a Vermittler and spiritual outcast in a Nouveau Africain culture, reluctantly takes up the mantel of her assassinated mentor and works to bring about world peace. With little preparation, she must battle a startling coalition of corrupt politicians, ruthless gangsters, and fundamentalist spiritual leaders who prefer the balance of power that interzonal war affords. Elleni gets support from Ray, an action-adventure Entertainment star who has never been a hero off-screen, Lawanda, an "ethnic throwback," who evokes the past to power her identity, and an old Shaman who betrayed her people, her beliefs but now hopes for redemption. This motley crew seems no match for the Barrier or the power-hungry coalition who could destroy the world they seek to dominate. As Elleni and crew struggle to be agents of change and set the world back on its course, they discover resources within themselves and allies in their world that they couldn't have imagined.