Kacen Callender

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Kacen Callender

Kacen Callender (born 1989) is a Saint Thomian author of children's fiction and fantasy.


  • There are people who would be able to do the same if they’d been given the same privileges as me. I think of how, in our society, so many of us like to consider ourselves the heroes of our own stories. We tell ourselves that we would’ve been better than our ancestors: We would’ve fought slavery, fought internment and concentration camps, stopped genocide. Yet these are all things that are happening in the world right now, and I feel a helplessness and hopelessness…
    • On reflecting on the trials faced by their character Sigourney in their novel Queen of the Conquered in “INTERVIEWS: Kacen Callender in BookPage (2019 Nov 12)
  • Because I write contemporary, magical realism and speculative for both children and adults, I spend a lot of time thinking about real settings for the contemporary books and the pieces that could be taken from those places to create fantasy spaces. But I also like to look for the magic in the real world…
  • People of color face mass incarceration and execution and racism and systematic oppression, taking away so many of our chances to use our talents and abilities as well.
  • Fantasy and science fiction novels are metaphors for our world. If a speculative book looks at our world through the eyes of a marginalized person, white readers might not connect with that character, because they haven’t faced racism. They’re not excited by a plot where black and brown characters must fight white oppressors, because they have to see themselves as the villain rather than the hero. They see a main character that doesn’t look like them, and without quite knowing why, they don’t find the story relatable…

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