We continue with the second part of my conversation with Natalie Obando, the current national president of the Women’s National Book Associatio and first Latina to take the helm. They continue to discuss the Authentic Voices Fellowship Program, her experiences and thoughts about the White Gaze in publishing and storytelling industries, how she uses her influence to transition us out of it so we can become more authentic and reflect a more realistic representation, and much more. They also dissect the harmful urge to center the comfort of others by anglicizing our names, thereby decentering ourselves at the outset of relationships, and the kind of impact this form of code-switching has on us and our communities. If you have not already, we encourage you to go back and listen to the first part so you can better situate yourself in today’s episode.
This 2-part conversation is the first of our new The Nasiona Podcast series showcasing the authentic voices of Women of Color writers. The Nasiona teamed up with the Women’s National Book Association’s Authentic Voices Fellowship Program and the Women of Color Writers organization to publish their inaugural first anthology, entitled The Roots That Help Us Grow: An Authentic Voices Anthology, Volume 1. Check our website at thenasiona.com for more information on the anthology.
For our podcast series, I interviewed everyone we published in the anthology to present you with an in-depth exploration of their individual literary journeys, their relationships to authenticity, experiences where they learned that language and their stories have power, obstacles they have experienced as Women of Color writers, the stories we included in the anthology, and much more.
With the Authentic Voices Fellowship program, the anthology, and this podcast series, we seek to bring BIPOC women to a deeper level of inclusion in the publishing industry and the literary world at large. Through the words of these inaugural fellows, the reader and listener may understand how telling these stories – despite the tragedy, trauma, injustice, political movements, language barriers, and grief involved – allows one to root more deeply into a heritage that helps us grow.
President Obando and I spoke on November 27th, 2021. This is the second of our two-part conversation. Thank you for listening.
Julián Esteban Torres López (he/him/his/él) is a bilingual, multiply neurodivergent, Colombia-born storyteller, public scholar, and culture architect with Afro-Euro-Indigenous roots. For two decades, Julián has worked toward humanizing those Othered by oppressive systems and dominant cultures. He is the creator of the social justice storytelling movement The Nasiona, where he also hosts and produces The Nasiona Podcast. He’s a Pushcart Prize, Best of the Net, and Best Small Fictions nominee; a Trilogy Award in Short Fiction finalist; a McNair Fellow; and the author of Marx’s Humanism and Its Limits and Reporting On Colombia. His poetry collection, Ninety-Two Surgically Enhanced Mannequins, is available now. His work appears in PANK Magazine, Into the Void Magazine, The Acentos Review, Novus Literary and Arts Journal, Havik 2021: Inside Brilliance, among others. Julián is also a senior DEI consultant for Conscious Thrive Consulting. Julián holds a bachelor’s in philosophy and in communication and a master’s in justice studies from the University of New Hampshire and was a Ph.D. candidate at the University of British Columbia Okanagan, where he focused on political science and Latin American studies.
The Nasiona Podcast amplifies the voices and experiences of the marginalized, undervalued, overlooked, silenced, and forgotten, as well as gives you a glimpse into Othered worlds. We focus on stories that explore the spectrum of human experiences—stories based on facts, truth-seeking, human concerns, real events, and real people, with a personal touch. From liminal lives to the marginalized, and everything in between, we believe that the subjective can offer its own reality and reveal truths some facts can’t discover. Hosted, edited, and produced by Julián Esteban Torres López.
Original music for The Nasiona Podcast was produced by the Grammy Award-winning team of Joe Sparkman and Marcus Allen, aka The Heavyweights. Joe Sparkman: Twitter + Instagram. Marcus Allen: Twitter + Instagram.
The Nasiona Magazine and Podcast depend on voluntary contributions from readers and listeners like you. We hope the value of our work to our community is worth your patronage. If you like what we do, please show this by liking, rating, and reviewing us; buying or recommending our books; and by financially supporting our work either through The Nasiona’s Patreon page or through Julián Esteban Torres López‘s Ko-fi donation platform. Every little bit helps.
Thank you for listening and reading, and thank you for your support.