Little Badger’s book, Elatsoe, published in 2020 was named as a finalist for the Nebula Awards in March, shortly after being featured in Time magazine as one of the best 100 fantasy novels of all time.
She said the Nebula Awards, which recognize the best works of science fiction or fantasy published in the U.S., is a “high dream goal” of hers because so many of the authors she enjoys reading have won in the past.
“At the same time this debut was coming out, I was actually going through a lot of very personal things,” says Little Badger.
Little Badger explains that her father was diagnosed with terminal cancer around the same time she sold Elatsoe to Chronicle Books at the end of 2018.
“It was devastating,” says Little Badger, who had to quit her job as a scientific editor and return home to take care of her father full-time just before the COVID-19 pandemic hit the U.S.
“He is the reason that I am a writer. And he was able to see a copy of Elatsoe and it’s one of the last times he smiled.”
Little Badger says that as a child, she was a huge reader of fantasy and science fiction, however, growing up, it was “discouraging” for her because there was “a lack of culture representation.”
“I describe it like a hall of mirrors and there is no reflection,” Little Badger says of the lack of representation of Indigenous Peoples.
“It’s discouraging because reading is like an escapism and a big source of joy.
“It’s so odd. It’s such an important element of your identity that doesn’t seem to exist in any of this, in any of these books or TV shows or movies that make up such a big part of your life.”
Little Badger says that because there is a lack of representation in the entertainment industry, she begins to question herself as a Native author.
“It’s a challenge because you wonder, can a Native writer get published in science fiction or fantasy? Will it be too difficult?” she says.
Little Badger says she’s been fortunate enough to have a lot of confidence and a supportive environment.
Her short fiction, non-fiction and comics have appeared in multiple places, including Marvel’s Voices: Indigenous Voices #1.
Little Badger describes it as a “pleasant surprise” when she first heard of the opportunity to write Marvel’s Voices: Indigenous Voices #1.
“It’s an honour to write these comics,” she says.
Little Badger says there are a lot more Indigenous Voices comics in the works but she can’t share the details yet.
“I hope that I’ll have the opportunity to continue writing books and to write comics and graphic novels,” she says.