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Year of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Name

MFA: Children's Literature

Directing Professor

Dhonielle Clayton


Our Only Music Was Uproar, a young adult CliFi-fantasy novel, makes up the creative portion of the thesis. The manuscript imagines a future, flooded version of the American gulf-south where land is scarce, and mana—the magical force within each person—is scarcer. Starleigh LeBlanc, a teenager growing up in the continuously sinking community of Meridian Isle, sets out to discover why her people’s memories are disappearing as fast as the land itself. Joined by her best friend and love interest, John Matthew, Starleigh uncovers the nefarious history of a power-hungry coven known as the Elder Statesmen. She learns of her own family’s complicitness in the Elder Statesmen’s decimation of the gulf-south and resolves to break this generational cycle. Along the way, Starleigh must grapple with how her white, cisgendered identity creates blindspots where John Matthew’s Vietnamese, transgendered identity does not. The accompanying reflective paper, “The Self, the Other, and the World We Share: Writing Environmental Racism and Whiteness in Our Only Music Was Uproar,” explores the author’s writing process. Comparing the piece to examples of CliFi and Visionary Fiction in young adult literature, the paper examines the importance of problematizing white privilege when writing about climate disaster.