Charles R. Saunders is the ground-breaking founding author of the genre called sword and soul, which employs the mythic structure of Eurocentric sword-and-sorcery and inside an African-based fantasy setting. As you’re about to hear, Saunders’s innovation arose in response to the profoundly racist dimensions of North American publishing, especially inside fantasy.
Born in Pennsylvania in 1946, Saunders achieved a degree in Psychology before moving to Canada in 1969. He lived in Ottawa for fourteen years, and since 1985 has lived in Nova Scotia. He’s been a community college teacher, research assistant, civil servant, journalist, editorialist, and copy editor.
Never one to let anyone stop him, Saunders has authored of seven novels including Imaro, The Quest for Cush, Dossouye,and Abengoni: First Calling, and four books on African-Nova Scotian history, including Sweat and Soul: The Saga of Black Boxers from the Halifax Forum to Caesar’s Palace, Spirit of Africville, Share & Care: The Story of the Nova Scotia Home for Colored Children, and Black & Bluenose: The Contemporary History of a Community.
This episode’s conversation comes from deep inside the catacombs of the Grand Lodge of Imhotep. It’s a never-before aired interview we recorded by telephone on August 10, 2008. Saunders discusses: