“The best thing for being sad…is to learn something.” — The Once and Future King, T.H. White
Katharine Duckett uses speculative fiction, performance, and her lived experience as a queer disabled woman to create complex, engaging, and imaginative narratives. She is the author of Miranda in Milan, a Shakespearean fantasy novella debut that NPR calls “intriguing, adept, inventive, and sexy,” as well as many short stories that have appeared in magazines and anthologies like Tor.com, Uncanny, PseudoPod, and Disabled People Destroy Science Fiction. She is the guest fiction editor for Disabled People Destroy Fantasy issue, a special issue of Uncanny showcasing the work of disabled creators in the science fiction and fantasy field. She is also an advisory board member for The Octavia Project, a free summer program that uses science fiction and fantasy to empower girls and nonbinary youth to envision and engineer new worlds.
After graduating from Hampshire College, where she studied creative writing and storytelling, Katharine received her TESOL certificate from the International Language Institute of Massachusetts and taught English with the Peace Corps in rural Kazakhstan. She also spent five years working in publishing before leaving to pursue her career in writing and teaching artistry.
Katharine studied at P.S. 316 in Crown Heights, Brooklyn under the skilled instruction of writer Jane Elias and visual artist Nichelle Ryan, with poet Charles Joseph Augustin as her co-intern, in a first grade class. The residency focused on using literature, in particular poetry, and visual art forms from around the globe to guide students in exploring diverse cultures and articulating their experience of themselves and the world around them. Katharine and Charles built on the students’ experience with creating and analyzing sensory and visually representative poetry to lead a class focused around shape poetry near the close of the residency. Katharine also participated in a number of elective workshops, including several excellent teaching sessions focused on creative writing with Katie Rainey, Jay Howard, Meher Manda, and Chelsea Asher.
Most Memorable TAP Moment:
“I have so many favorite moments from every session I spent with my fellow TAP trainees, but one of the weekend workshops where we built a community poem based on random visual images in small groups and then performed it (in quite a short time frame) remains in my mind. It was such a pleasure to work with other artists, who were consistently generous, understanding, and actively engaged in the creative learning process, and that moment performing a just-born work of art with some of the best and sharpest minds I’ve encountered in my professional life captures the feeling of TAP for me.”
Brief excerpt from Miranda in Milan
When Miranda came to Milan, she found she was a monster.
She’d been given a queen’s welcome in Naples, that lovely city on the sea, but as they’d moved inland, the warm breeze had left them, and she found herself among stony-eyed strangers who refused her gaze, who seemed loath to touch her flesh. They treated her like Caliban, her ladies-in-waiting and royal relatives.
They arrived in Milan on a cold, gray day, and as they approached, the castle of her ancestors looked more like a prison than her rightful home. Its high ramparts stretched into the mist, leached of color by the pendulous clouds, and its black mouth gaped wide, swallowing them as their carriage passed through the gates. Miranda trembled, for she could no longer see the sky. Her whole life through, sea and sky had surrounded her: with neither in sight to give her bearings, she hardly knew where she was.