Algonquin Young Readers, Book Feature

Interview with Nova Ren Suma discussing Foreshadow: Stories to Celebrate The Magic of Reading and Writing YA

On The Booked Shelf we’re all about highlighting the newest Young Adult releases! Here’s a much-anticipated interview with co-editor/author Nova Ren Suma talking all about the Foreshadow anthology that released in October of this year and the digital platform it’s inspired by, FORESHADOW YA.

With this book of course being inspired by your digital anthology “Foreshadow,” it showcases new writers featured from past issues! What was the most special part of getting this anthology in print?

Nova Ren: Having the opportunity to highlight only the New Voices from These were dazzling short stories by writers new to the YA field, those who hadn’t published a novel yet, and a number of whom hadn’t ever published a piece of fiction before. We wanted to shout about these stories and these talented writers from the rooftops, and publishing them in print in the form of this book was a glorious way to do that.

This anthology doesn’t just feature new writers, but also handy craft advice for Young Adult readers/aspiring writers. Why do you think this was important to include in the anthology?

Nova Ren: The title of our anthology—Foreshadow: Stories to Celebrate the Magic of Reading and Writing YA—speaks to everything we wanted to offer with this book. We wanted it to be more than a collection of stories, so this book truly became a celebration of what’s possible in YA. Including the craft essays and conversations was a way to acknowledge the seeds of writing magic that made these stories what they are. We hope you can feel our joy about digging in to what makes these stories shine and startle and thrill and tick. We wanted to pull the curtain back, so you could see what made us fall in love with them in the beginning. For readers, we hope that offers a fascinating look into the inner workings of crafting a story. And for writers, we hope it gets you thinking deeply about the craft choices and possibilities in your own work.

As editors of this serial YA anthology and authors yourselves, it’s clear there was much love put into this project from the very beginning! What does it mean to see projects like Foreshadow exist and although it ended in 2019, what was the most memorable part?

Nova Ren: Foreshadow was a dream project for both Emily and me, and on top of that initial dream we had a secret dream we articulated only to each other that after our year of online stories was over, we wanted to collect some part of the project in print form. So having the anthology published by Algonquin YR this fall with the craft extras really thrilled us. Having the opportunity to create a place for YA writers to publish their short stories was our initial aim, and we always wanted the door to be open to new writers who haven’t published anywhere before. There are so few venues like that in the YA landscape, and it’s only recently that YA anthologies have started to be more open to submissions to new writers. We’re hoping that Foreshadow, in all its forms, could be a nudge to other editors and writers to go off and make their dream projects a reality too. Let’s create more publications and venues that offer new writers a space and a singular chance to have their voices heard. Foreshadow may be the first YA publication of its kind, but we hope it’s the last. As for the most memorable part, I can’t help but think of the first moment when this gigantic and ambitious project started to feel real. Emily and I had a lunch date at a Ukrainian restaurant that turned into five hours of excited planning. When we walked out onto the sidewalk, stuffed full of ideas and pancakes, Foreshadow was real.

To conclude, Foreshadow is about not only showcasing underrepresented writers, but also boosting emerging ones as well. In the year of 2020, what writing advice do you have to offer marginalized or new/upcoming writers to keep them inspired?

To answer that, I’m going to share an image we made when promoting the online version of Foreshadow:

I believe these words. To the underrepresented voices out there who don’t yet see your stories in YA, and to writers who haven’t found a home for your work yet: The world does need your story. Foreshadow may not be taking submissions anymore, and our project may be complete in the form of the Foreshadow print anthology, but I’m hoping you will write for the future reader who will fall in love with your words. That person is out there.

To quote my co-editor, Emily X.R. Pan, from her introduction in our book, “What’s the point of storytelling magic if it isn’t shared?”

The Foreshadow YA anthology is out now from Algonquin Young Readers!