An Unexpected Light is running again in Spring 2020!

Course participation is limited, in order to provide every participant with individual feedback and care.

Register for the April 2020 round of An Unexpected Light!

Course Curriculum

  • 1

    An Unexpected Light Intro

  • 2

    Urgencies: Reframing, Renaming, Reauthoring 'Apocalypse'

    • Mapping the Problem video
    • The Apocalypse Puzzle: A Narrative Conversation with Julia video
    • Mapping the Problem Handout
    • Reading Into Collapse
    • Brave Sparrow - Our first pervasive game video
    • A Complex Filament of Light study guide
    • The Only Lasting Truth study guide
    • End of the World Show: Aww Shucks study guide
    • Writing Into Change
    • Colour: Dialogue within (asking why)
    • Craft: Dialogue
    • Integration and Care
    • Feelings Bubbles care practice video
  • 3

    Escaping from Failure

    • Escaping from Failure video
    • Escaping from Failure Handout
    • Escaping from Failure Readings
    • Dirty Computer visual album study guide
    • A Witch's Guide to Escape study guide
    • Black Angel study guide
    • Writing the Delicious Failure
    • Failure in your writing video
    • Colour: Dialogue with (asking why)
    • Craft: Letting your character fail
    • Resigning from Normality: Integration and Care exercise
  • 4

    Places of Sustenance

    • Places of Sustenance video
    • Places of Sustenance handout
    • Reading This World
    • On Fantasy, Placelessness, and Queer Futurity study guide
    • Futurestates: The 6th World study guide
    • The River study guide
    • Bonus! Unruly Edges: Mushrooms as Companion Species study guide
    • Writing the Ground We Walk On
    • Colour: Invaders, Tourists, Guests
    • Craft: Mapping in Your Writing
    • Sustaining Care practice and video
  • 5

    Remembering Futures

    • Remembering futures: Reflections
    • Remembering futures: "I believed there was no future"
    • Remembering futures handout
    • Reading Past Futures
    • Good Bones study guide
    • Lalibela study guide
    • Leaving Omelas study guide
    • The Nowness of Black Chronopolitical Imaginaries study guide
    • Between futures writing prompt
    • Colour: The Carrier Bag of Fiction
    • Craft: Playing with person and tense
    • The Selves We Could Have Been: Integration and Care
  • 6

    Kinship and Community

    • Library of Life video
    • Library of Life handout
    • Kinship and Community Readings
    • Witchbody study guide
    • Riri Williams Goes to Wakanda study guide
    • Hollow study guide
    • Disability Justice for the Apocalypse study guide
    • Writing the roots
    • Colour: Writing the Other and the Self
    • Craft: Writing Relationships
    • London Fogs: Linking Self-Care to Community
    • Bonus narrative therapy practice! Linking actions to histories video
    • Bonus narrative practice handout
  • 7

    Legacies of Action

    • Legacies of Action video
    • Legacies of Action handout
    • Reading Ourselves Into The Resistance
    • Evidence study guide
    • Mono no Aware study guide
    • gezhizhwazh study guide
    • Island Time study guide
    • Writing An Inheritance of Action
    • Colour: Engaging with History
    • Craft: Repetition
    • A Lineage of Care
  • 8

    Additional Resources

    • Bonus content!
    • Speculating About Ourselves as Writers
    • The Colour and Craft of Writing
    • Writing prompt tools: Dice video
    • Writing prompt tool: Games video
    • Writing prompt tool: Cards video
    • Introducing the Story Cards
    • Download Jim Tait's Story Cards
    • Staying with the Trouble: Some Donna Haraway Bonus Content video
    • Coordinating Collective Action and Community Care
    • Submitting Your Writing
    • Responding to Each Other's Writing
    • Who Will We Be When We Are Free: On Palestine and Futurity study guide
    • "The 12 Fundamentals of Writing the Other (and the Self)" exercises


  • Will this course interfere with NaNoWriMo or my other big commitments?

    An Unexpected Light has been designed to be modular, meaning that you can do the parts that appeal to you and skip the rest. Lessons are also downloadable, so that if you're participating in NaNo or you have something big come up during the course, you can download the content and come back to it when you're able.

  • Do I need to be a writer to take this course?

    Definitely not! New writers, hesitant writers, reluctant writers, aspiring writers, and discouraged writers are all welcome and encouraged! Almost all of the contributors to Octavia’s Brood, the primary text for this course, had never written fiction, let alone speculative fiction, before that project.

  • Is this course all about apocalypse and huge political issues?

    It can be! But it doesn't have to be. Course content has been designed to allow you to take your writing and your reflections in whatever direction feels right for you - you can focus on big topics like climate crisis and politics, or you can focus on more personal topics.

  • Do I have to be a feminist to take this course?

    This course brings an intersectional feminist lens to the material, and it is explicitly focused on social justice. But you can identify however you would like! There are many reasons that someone might not identify as a feminist, including feminism's long and ongoing history of complicity with colonialism, racism, ableism, transphobia, and other oppressive systems.

  • How much time do I need to dedicate to this course?

    You should be able to complete this course in 2-3 hours per week if you do everything. But I know that many of us are operating under scarcity and are time-crunched, so the course has been designed to allow you to do what you have time for, and still be able to come back to the new content each week.


Tiffany Sostar

Tiffany Sostar

Tiffany Sostar is a bisexual, non-binary, chronic pain-enhanced narrative therapist, community organizer, tarot reader, writer, editor, and unabashed nerd. They have facilitated trauma-informed writing workshops and courses for the last ten years. Tiffany is a white settler on Treaty 7 territory.


Sliding scale is available. Please email Tiffany Sostar at to make arrangements.

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