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Bestselling Author N. K. Jemisin Shares Her Intricate Process for Worldbuilding and Developing Compelling Characters

MasterClass announces author N. K. Jemisin to teach fantasy and science fiction writing

Published on April 26, 2021

MasterClass, the streaming platform where anyone can learn from the world’s best across a wide range of subjects, today announced that N. K. Jemisin will teach a class on fantasy and science fiction writing. Drawing from her prolific body of work and background as a counseling psychologist, Jemisin will guide members through her worldbuilding process, breaking down how to construct believable cultures, characters, mythologies, and inventions of magic that allow them to escape into a new reality. Jemisin’s class is now available exclusively on MasterClass, where subscribers get unlimited access to all 100+ instructors with an annual membership.

“As the first author to win three Best Novel Hugo Awards in a row, Nora is one of the most celebrated science fiction and fantasy writers,” said David Rogier, founder and CEO of MasterClass. “In her class, Nora teaches her methodology and framework for building new worlds, new magic systems, and new histories and cultures. It’s an amazing class.”

In her class, Jemisin will teach members techniques rooted in research for developing interesting and complex characters with nuanced story lines. By demystifying her approach to science fiction and fantasy writing, she will encourage members to write characters who are true to their own identity and reflective of people who are marginalized or underrepresented by genre conventions. Jemisin candidly shares her experiences of being marginalized, offering advice on how to pursue writing professionally at any point in life, navigate the publishing industry, deal with harassment and more. Members will leave this class equipped with new skills to build rich, layered and believable worlds and encouraged by Jemisin’s belief that the odds for success in the publishing industry are in favor of those who are committed to their craft.

“If you’ve always wanted to write a science fiction or fantasy story and you’re not sure where to begin, I will help you build and populate that world from scratch,” Jemisin said. “If there’s anything to take away from my class, it’s that authors change the profession by their very existence. With my expertise in writing and publishing, we will make your voice heard and help you find success in these mean literary streets.”

Jemisin’s work features a wide range of themes, notably cultural conflict and oppression. Her debut novel, The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms, and the subsequent books in her Inheritance trilogy sold at a six-figure auction and received critical acclaim. In 2016, Jemisin’s The Fifth Season won the Hugo Award for Best Novel, making her the first Black person to win in this category. After winning again in 2017 for The Obelisk Gate and then a third time in 2018 for The Stone Sky, Jemisin became the first author in the genre’s history to have won the Hugo for Best Novel three consecutive times. In all, her short fiction and novels have won Hugos, a Nebula and two Locus Awards, and have been translated into more than 20 languages. Her current Great Cities trilogy is ongoing, beginning with The New York Times bestseller The City We Became. She is a 2020 recipient of the MacArthur “Genius” Fellowship.

Staff Writer