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Tananarive Due, MA

Antioch University Los Angeles

Tananarive Due, MA, is the American Book Award-winning and NAACP Image Award-winning author of novels, screenplays and a civil rights memoir. She grew up in Miami, where she was a reporter for the Miami Herald, but she has also lived in the Pacific Northwest and now lives in Southern California. Due is best known for supernatural suspense and mysteries, and she has been nominated twice for a Bram Stoker Award. Novels in her African Immortals series include My Soul to Take (2011), Blood Colony (June 2008), The Living Blood (2001), and My Soul to Keep (1997). Her novella “Ghost Summer” is included in the collection The Ancestors collection, a January ’09 Essence Book Club pick. Her short fiction has been included in several anthologies, including Gumbo, Dark Dreams, Best Black Women’s Erotica and the Year’s Best Science Fiction.

Due also collaborates with her husband, Steven Barnes. They published their first mystery, Casanegra: A Tennyson Hardwick Novel (2007), in collaboration with actor Blair Underwood. The series continued with In the Night of the Heat (2008), which won an NAACP Image Award. Due and Barnes sold their screenplay adaptation of her novel The Good House to Fox Searchlight.

Due also co-authored a memoir with her mother, civil rights activist Patricia Stephen, Due Freedom in the Family: A Mother-Daughter Memoir of the Fight for Civil Rights. (Patricia Stephens Due took part in the nation’s first “Jail-In” in 1960, spending 49 days in jail in Tallahassee, Florida, after a sit-in at a Woolworth lunch counter.) Due’s third mystery collaboration, From Cape Town with Love, was published in May 2010.

Due holds an MA in English Literature from the University of Leeds, England. Due lives in Southern California with Barnes; their son, Jason; and her stepdaughter, Nicki.

Educational History

MA in English Literature, University of Leeds, England

Teaching Statement

Each writer’s journey is different, so I try to tailor my approach to the needs of the student, whether your aspirations are so-called “literary” or “commercial”—or both. As a mentor, I track my students’ progress, help them identify strengths and weaknesses, and provide feedback to help create the fastest growth. My own background is in speculative fiction and mysteries, but my interests as a reader are broad, and I believe writers should read a wide selection of high-quality literature. I try not to bring in preconceived notions about what kind of writer you should be, focusing instead on helping to guide the writer you are, or strive to be.

As a mentor, I love the instant accessibility of short stories (beginning-middle-end), but I will also work with novels-in-progress as long as the pages are fresh. I expect 20-25 pages emailed to me via Microsoft Word each month—all of my comments will be made directly on the manuscript in “Review” mode, where my changes will be highlighted. I will give line edits as well as an overview statement each month, with more emphasis on one or the other depending on the stage and needs of the manuscript.

We will read five novels, one per month, and have reading conferences led by the mentees. I will chime in from time to time, but I’m mostly interested in hearing your feedback. I will also want brief annotations of each novel we read. Mentees can also choose to critique each other’s work in a separate discussion, but this is optional—and would have to be agreed upon by everyone. (In this case, mentees will be responsible for emailing their work to the others.)

Deadlines matter to me, and I ask for engagement. I also offer students an optional 15-to-30-minute phone conference once a month, which enables me to feel more personally engaged in the writer’s development.

Ghost Summer
My Soul to Take

Blood Colony
Joplin’s Ghost
The Good House
Freedom in the Family: A Mother-Daughter Memoir of the Fight
for Civil Rights (with Patricia Stephens Due)
The Living Blood
The Black Rose
My Soul to Keep
The Between

Tananarive Due

Affiliate Faculty,

MFA in Creative Writing Program


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