Name: Charles R. Saunders
Basics: A pioneering writer of the Sword and Soul movement, Charles Saunders was one of the first people to try and bring a black perspective to the Sword and Sorcery subgenre. Saunders’ seminal character is the black hero Imaro and he’s written four novels centering around this towering figure. Saunders doesn’t shy away from African culture and bringing African elements into a genre that mostly consists of straight white men. Saunders is a trailblazer for diversity in the speculative fiction genre and has helped to inspire a new wave of writers of color who want to contribute to it.
Why I Chose Him: You never know the impact you can have on someone, but when you move forward with a vision you can change lives. I’m sure Saunders never imagined when he first created Imaro that it would propel forward so many other writers. We can’t always be sure what the contributions of our life might bring about, but there are many who owe something to this man. He trudged through the mud and cleared the path for a lot of us. He is to be appreciated.