Mythology and Speculative Literature Panel

Mythology is a rich vein for writers to mine when it comes to making new stories. But what are some dead angles that writers have when it comes to mythology? How do you build new ones with depth? How can writers handle retellings to make them truly new? How do you go about integrating existing mythologies into your work in a respectful way, or should you do that at all?

Join science fiction and fantasy authors Vida Cruz, Piper J Drake, Kate Elliott, Rebecca Roanhorse, and Shveta Thakrar as they dig into how they answer these questions with their own work and research.

This panel was livestreamed to YouTube on July 24th.

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Participant Bios

Vida Cruz

Vida Cruz is a Filipina fantasy and science fiction writer. Her short fiction has been published or is forthcoming from Expanded Horizons, Writers of the Future vol. 34, Lontar: The Journal of Southeast Asian Speculative Fiction, Broad Knowledge: 35 Women Up to No Good, Phantazein, and the Philippine Speculative Fiction series of anthologies.

Vida attended the 2014 Clarion Writers Workshop in San Diego, California; the 51st Silliman University National Writers Workshop (Fellow for Fiction); and the 20th Iligan National Writers Workshop (Fellow for Novel-in-Progress). In 2016, she was also a fellow at the first Amelia Lapeña-Bonifacio Writers Workshop. She is a 2018 Tiptree Fellow.

Piper J. Drake

Piper J. Drake is a bestselling author of romantic suspense and edgy contemporary romance, a frequent flyer, and day job road warrior. Wherever she goes, she enjoys tasting the world and embarking on foodie adventures. Dogs—and horses—have been known to spontaneously join her for a stroll and she enjoys pausing for a nice chat with cats of all sizes, from domestic to tiger size and beyond.

Piper aspires to give her readers stories with a taste of the hard challenges in life, a breath of laughter, a broad range of strengths and weaknesses, the sweet taste of kisses, and the heat of excitement across multiple genres including science fiction and fantasy.

Kate Elliott

Kate Elliott has been writing science fiction and fantasy for 30 years, with 27 books in print. Her most recent novel is Unconquerable Sun, gender swapped Alexander the Great in space. She is best known for her Crown of Stars epic fantasy series, the Afro-Celtic post-Roman alt-history fantasy (with lawyer dinosaurs) Cold Magic, and YA fantasy Court of Fives. Her particular focus is immersive world building & centering women in epic stories of adventure & transformative cultural change. She lives in Hawaii, where she paddles outrigger canoes & spoils her schnauzer. You can find her online at and @KateElliottSFF on Twitter.

Rebecca Roanhorse

Rebecca Roanhorse is a New York Times Bestseller and Nebula, Hugo, and Locus Award-winning speculative fiction writer. Her novels include Trail of Lightning, Storm of Locusts (both part of the Sixth World series), Star Wars: Resistance Reborn, and the middle grade novel on the Rick Riordan Imprint, Race to the Sun. Her short fiction can be found in Apex Magazine, Uncanny, and various anthologies including New Suns and The Mythic Dream. She lives with her husband and daughter in Northern New Mexico and can be found on Twitter at @RoanhorseBex. Her next novel is the epic fantasy Black Sun coming Fall 2020.

Shveta Thakrar

Shveta Thakrar is a part-time nagini and full-time believer in magic. Her work has appeared in a number of magazines and anthologies including Enchanted Living, Uncanny Magazine, A Thousand Beginnings and Endings, and Toil & Trouble. Her debut young adult fantasy novel, Star Daughter, is forthcoming from HarperTeen in August 2020. When not spinning stories about spider silk and shadows, magic and marauders, and courageous girls illuminated by dancing rainbow flames, Shveta crafts, devours books, daydreams, travels, bakes, and occasionally even plays her harp.