OTW Guest Post: Malory Beazley

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Interviews by Fans
Title: OTW Guest Post: Malory Beazley
Interviewer: Claudia Rebaza
Interviewee: Malory Beazley
Date(s): August 25, 2016
Medium: online
Fandom(s):
External Links: OTW Guest Post: Malory Beazley, Archived version
Click here for related articles on Fanlore.

OTW Guest Post: Malory Beazley is a 2016 interview with Malory Beazley.

It was done as part of a series. See OTW Guest Post.

Introduction

Malory Beazley (Editor, FAN/FIC Magazine) is a writer, editor, and university instructor. She’s written about fan culture for FAN/FIC Magazine, published a Master’s thesis on the political potential of Harry Potter fanfiction, and taught a feminism and popular culture course at Acadia University. Today, Malory talks about how she came to run a magazine and what she’d like to publish more of. [1]

Excerpts

How did you first get into fandom and fanworks?

I’ve always been a late bloomer when it comes to fandom. Much like my kindred spirit Hermione Granger, I was much too focused on homework to discover fan communities. However, I distinctly remember feeling a fannish affinity for a few things: the original Star Wars trilogy, the King’s Quest videogame series, and the Backstreet Boys (still my favourite “manband”). My whole life changed when I was given the first Harry Potter book for my twelfth birthday. As I stood in line to pick up my preordered copy of Goblet of Fire, I suddenly felt like I was part of something bigger, even though I didn’t have a name for what that was.

It took me until my university years to discover fandom proper. After the Twilight books came out, I must have done a Google search for “Why didn’t Bella end up with Jacob?” which led me to this thing called fanfiction. I started writing my first fic that night. When I eventually published it on Fanfiction.net, the generous feedback made me more confident in my writing.

At grad school, I finagled my way into writing a Fan Studies thesis in a Film Studies program. It was called “Out of the Cupboards and Into the Streets! Harry Potter Genderfuck Fanfiction and Fan Activism.” In it, I discussed how fanfiction can make contemporary debates about gender theory accessible without compromising the affinity for the source text. I recently taught a Gender Studies course at Acadia University and assigned fanfics as required readings. I think my students enjoyed (and were surprised by) that.

I’ve been playing fangirl catch-up ever since. At the moment, I’m gleefully working through Star Trek and Supernatural. I’ve become hugely active (some might say obsessive) in the Harry Potter, Sherlock, and Thor fandoms. I’m currently writing three novel-length Drarry fics, which will be released as a trilogy on AO3.

How did FAN/FIC Magazine get started and what has your role been?

FAN/FIC Magazine was founded in September 2015 by a seriously awesome person named Susan Pi, who had always been drawn to thought-provoking, well-informed articles about fan culture. Susan’s background is in publishing and freelance writing, so she cleverly identified the need for an online publication that celebrates brilliant fanworks.

I stumbled upon the site shortly after that. I pitched Susan a series of articles based on my thesis research and became a regular writer for the site. I was immediately drawn to the site’s mission to celebrate great fan writing and, I must admit, to the name “FAN/FIC,” which I thought was rather clever. Then, in June 2016, Susan reached out to the regular contributors and asked if anyone was interested in taking over the site.

I’ve been owner and editor of the publication ever since. I have big plans to expand this little nonprofit project into a thriving, influential, sustainable publication.

How did you hear about the OTW and what do you see its role as?

I first heard about the OTW when I was doing research for my Master’s thesis, which involved a lot of fic reading on AO3 and finding meta-posts linked on Fanlore. I was also exploring the Transformative Works and Cultures journal and familiarizing myself with its board members — Henry Jenkins, Anne Jamison, Catherine Driscoll, and more. In fact, Alexis Lothian was one of the Examiners for my thesis.

I think the primary role of the OTW is for fanwork archiving and preservation. Online communities, particularly fan-driven spaces, are constantly shifting with the emergence of new social platforms. The nature of online fan spaces is, itself, transformative. Maintaining an archive that preserves these nebulous communities is a tall order, but one the OTW is working on every day. It is remarkable how much the AO3 archive has expanded since its foundation. When I first started my thesis research, there were 1656 fics under the “Trans” tag on AO3. Now there are more than 10,000. That is incredible.

References

  1. OTW Guest Post: Malory Beazley, Archived version