HOLY FUCKING SHIT I WON A HUGO

In realtime, I am speechless. Fortunately, I wrote a speech ahead of time, which was read beautifully by Campbell nominee Alyssa Wong in my stead at the ceremony. Here’s the text:

My apologies for not being present this evening; I’m deep in Deadline Hell right now on book 3 of the Broken Earth trilogy.

I’ve thanked them already in the acknowledgements, but I really want to thank the people who talked me down from quitting this book. At the nadir of my Chasm of Doubt — hat-tip to Kate Elliott for the term — I thought THE FIFTH SEASON was beyond my skill to write. I thought no one would want to read it. When it got nominated, I wondered how many of my fellow SFF fans, in a year headlined by reactionary pushback against the presence and performance of people like me in the genre, would choose to vote for the story of a fortysomething big-boned dredlocked woman of color waging an epic struggle against the forces of oppression.

But I forgot: only a small number of ideologues have attempted to game the Hugo Awards. That small number can easily be overwhelmed, their regressive clamor stilled, if the rest of SFF fandom simply stands up to be counted. Stands up to say that yes, they do want literary innovation, and realistic representation. Stands up to say that yes, they do just want to read good stories — but what makes a story good is skill, and audacity, and the ability to consider the future clearly rather than through the foggy lenses of nostalgia and privilege.

So thank you to my fellow category nominees for your excellence: I would have been happy to lose to any of you. Your work truly represents the breadth and depth and potential of this genre and I am honored to stand among you.

Thank you to my editor and agent, and all the people at Orbit Books, and all the people in the SFF media sphere, and those members of my family, who’ve supported what I’ve been trying to do.

But most of all thank you, Hugo Voters, for standing up for me.

It’s not real for me yet. Still processing. But holy shit, y’all. Holy shit.

hugo

68 Responses »

  1. Congratulations! A well deserved win!

  2. Congrats and well deserved!

  3. Congratulations! It is a well-deserved hugo. Fifth Season is the best thing I’ve read in years.

  4. Congratulations! Well deserved — you had first place on my ballot.

  5. Congratulation!

    My thanks to those in your life who helped you bridge your Chasm of Doubt. And “Thank You” for your works: they’re brilliant!

  6. I’m pleased to have read your book, and I am pleased that your it won a well-deserved award. Bravo.

  7. Congratulations!
    Looking forward to future books by a Hugo Award winner! (It sounds good, doesn’t it?)

  8. I was really hoping The Fifth Season would win – the best SF/F novel I’ve read in a decade. Just finished Obelisk Gate, equally tremendous.

    That Hugo is so very well deserved.

  9. EEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE– ahem I’ll stop squeeing, honest.

    I am so happy and excited for you and thank you so much for writing The Fifth Season and its sequels. Thank you for being you. I know there were other worthy books up for nomination, but you’re the author I was rooting for.

    Congratulations on a well-deserved win.

  10. Yes, and it was well deserved. Congratulations.

  11. A more deserving candidate didn’t exist. Congratulations on your Hugo win. There are likely many more in your future.

  12. Congratulations! It was really well and truly deserved, it was the best book I have read in ages!

  13. Congratulations! Great book, great speech. And on behalf of all your readers, thanks for stubbornly traversing your deadline hell.

  14. Well-deserved. I had a really tough time choosing between you and Naomi Novik’s UPROOTED for the top slot, and would’ve been happy to see either win. ?

  15. Wonderful! I am so happy for you! I have just finished The Obelisk Gate, and am (selfishly) thrilled that you’re working so hard on the next book in the trilogy. You craft your books with such care; I do love all of them–and I abhor all those hate-mongers and people who are filled with fear and self-doubt (they would never admit it) who try to stamp out anything which excites the imagination and challenges tradition. Keep the faith, and take heart that you have many readers who appreciate what you’re doing.

  16. So many congrats! It’s a truly amazing book, and I bounced with glee when I saw you’d won the Hugo. The sequel is every bit as good and I devoured it in like three days. It’s going to feel like a very long time until the third book comes out, but at least I have the first two to reread.

  17. Congratulations on your well deserved Hugo award.

    ‘The Fifth Season’ stood head and shoulders above the other works I enjoyed this year. Thank you for leaping the ‘Chasm of Doubt’ to bring it to us. Best wished in coping with deadline Hell on volume 3.

    And as for me, I have ‘The Obelisk Gate’, waiting my attention on my Kindle.

  18. Congratulations! I haven’t read the book yet (to be honest, I have been holding off because at some level I can’t believe it can be as good as the Dreamblood books) but I am convinced it’s a well-deserved win.

    And brilliant acceptance speech.

  19. Congratulations! :)
    It’s an absolutely deserved win. I’m still squeeing about this and will eat a piece of cake in your honor today (a completely selfless act on my part, of course).

  20. Yaaayyyy congratulations!!! What a beautiful speech–I’m tearing up a little bit. I am so, so very grateful to you and those who talked you down from the Chasm of Doubt for enabling The Fifth Season to exist. It is a treasure and a gift, and having just finished The Obelisk Gate I don’t doubt The Broken Earth trilogy will be one of my favorite book series ever.

  21. Congratulations! I watched the live stream of the ceremony and agree that Alyssa Wong did a lovely job accepting on your behalf. Your speech itself was beautiful and gracious. I may have teared up a little. :)

  22. Best book of the decade and so deserving of the win. Congrats!

  23. Many congratulations! May your reign of excellence continue for a good, long while.

  24. Congratulations! Well deserved.

  25. This is so so wonderful and well-deserved!! Congratulations!!!

  26. Definitely the most powerful book I read last year.

  27. Congratulations! Your win made it totally worth getting up before 3am to watch the live stream (and worth the hangover I’ve struggled with all day because of it, this body does not handle such things as too little sleep well anymore). I may have squeed out loud just a bit, not enough to wake anybody but still. So well deserved. Yay!

  28. congratulations!

  29. @Alicia I can only say that it builds on the excellence of the Dreamblood books, it truly is a magnificent read.

    A well-deserved win – congratulations!

  30. Congratulations! I’m rereading Fifth Season right now so that I can read Obelisk Gate (which is patiently waiting on my shelf). So far, it’s even better the second time around. Your Hugo is clearly well-deserved.

  31. Congratulations, nojojo!!!! Well deserved for an awesome novel!

  32. Congratulations! So happy to see your work get the recognition it deserves!

    You’re one of the small handful of authors who I’ll always buy any new book from immediately, sight unseen, without even a glance at the back cover blurb, because I know that it will ALWAYS be amazing…

  33. Congratulations, I was so hoping for this book to win the Hugo. Best book that I read in a long time!

  34. I haven’t read your book yet, but it sounds fantastic. I have a bookstore gift card burning a hole in my pocket, so it will be in my grubby hands soon.

    Congratulations!

  35. Congratulations. In my own opinion, it was overdue. You are a fantastic writer, combining beautiful prose with fascinating plots. The Killing Moon was one of the best books I read that year. I agree with Lynna–you are one of the few authors I now auto-buy.

  36. Wow! I fell in love in the first ten pages. Youi own the language. Audacity indeed! Thank you much.

  37. Even though I didn’t vote in the Hugos, I was extremely happy to see you win for TFS. I was pretty happy with the list of nominees for best novel, but I believe you truly deserve that win. All of your books have been impressively great and The Fifth Season stands out as one of my absolute favorite books.

  38. Congratulations and well deserved.
    Your books are the only ones I preorder.

  39. I’m so deeply happy for you. What an incredible, well-deserved year you’re having. You’re writing has increased the good energy, needed by a world struggling to be balanced. Keep writing, keep being you.

  40. Congratulations! I’m just winding up a rereading of The Fifth Season in preparation for reading The Obelisk Gate. It is such a good book and this is a well-deserved win.

  41. My heartfelt congrats as well.

    Best of luck with your future writing, too. We can’t ever have too many good books.

    Thanks for what you do for us readers.

  42. Awesome news! Definitely the item on the ballot that came closest to perfection IMO.

  43. Congratulations! I am so happy for you. I love your work so much.

  44. Congratulations! There were some really good nominees this year, but you were my number one choice. Sorry you couldn’t be at Worldcon for the ceremony but it’s really good news that book 3 is coming along. And I did stay up until midnight August 16th to download The Obelisk Gate so I had it on my tablet for the trip to Kansas City. Another Hugo worthy book IMHO.

  45. Very happy that you won, even though I didn’t really expect you to! (A lot of the smart money
    was on Uprooted although now that I have
    recently read that book I am not sure why.)

    I probably would have voted for Seveneves if I was a MidAmericon member just because it was the book that resonated the most with me this year but every once in a while I stop and think and a scene or image from The Fifth Season will appear, unbidden, in my thoughts so your writing is definitely effective, and affecting!

    Also very happy to hear you are working hard in finishing the 3rd book (can we get a sneak peek of the title?) in the Broken Earth series! Looking forward to spending more time in the worlds you create with your mind.

  46. Where is the like button on this post so I can press it a million times? I loved The Fifth Season, it is by far the most epic work I have read in ages, and it was perfect from beginning to end. Thank you so much for writing it. Thank you so much for including a trans character as a regular person, not as someone who needed to be explained or have something tragic happen to.

    Thank you for writing, I love everything you write and I look forward to reading your books again and again.

  47. And now I have just got the “hold available for pickup” notice from my library re: Obelisk Gate, and despite running on way too little sleep I am suddenly way too excited to be at work…

  48. Congratulations on the win. I just finished reading Obelisk Gate and was devastated (in a very good way.)

  49. Good stories matter. So, too, do guts and determination. You’re one hell of fine writer, Nora. You know it; I know it; and the whole world now knows it. Congratulations.

  50. This is so phenomenal, and very much deserved.

    What a great acceptance speech, you are spot on about (allow me to paraphrase) how we need to stand up and make our voices overwhelm the small group of ideologues.

    Goddamn, this is just so fantastic… my most sincere congratulations, Nora!!

  51. Richly, emphatically deserved! Great characters, gripping story, stunning world building, and the second book lives up to the beginning. Looking forward to the third!

  52. Great Book, well deserved.

  53. Congrats. I’m still years behind on my reading list… but Fifth Season is definitely on there. (But I need to read Dreamblood first.)

  54. Congratulations! I was rooting for you the whole way–TFS is an amazing work of literature, powerful and profound as well as beautifully written, and it was easily the best thing I read all last year. I’m so happy that your amazing talent was recognized. Looking forward to Obelisk Gate, which I picked up, yesterday, and to Volume Three (not to pressure!)

  55. Congratulations! I echo the sentiments of the rest of the commenters that the award was well deserved! I fell in love with your storytelling, complex characters, and incredible world building with “The Fifth Season.” I look forward to reading more!

  56. Congrats and it’s well deserved! Your stories are “THE SHIT”! And your writing is masterful.

  57. I am not good at the newer technology, as I am a sixty-ish white male, but I needed to say this. I read A Hundred Thousand Kingdoms several months ago, in a library copy. I just started The Broken Kingdoms and found myself very confused. In trying to find out what happened at the end of the first book, I read some interviews of yours. Here is what I want to get to. I tend to read books because I like them, and I like yours. It is in large measure my white privilege that I didn’t see the racial overtones in the first book. With a little more knowledge I can see them everywhere, and appreciate what you’re trying to do. My eyes need to be opened, and your books and the other writers of color that I read and will continue to are doing so.
    Many thanks!
    Rusty Smoker

  58. Just love what you do. You make me think and in turn you change the world a little for the better. To top it all great storytelling!

  59. You fucking deserved a fucking Hugo — it’s a fucking fine book. But why do you call it fantasy? To me it reads more like science fiction.

  60. Congratulations. The title of your post sounds like Neil Gaiman’s Hugo acceptance speech way back though I think he dropped the ‘holy shit’ and went with the short form (Fuck! I won a Hugo!)
    Must admit I voted Uprooted as 1st choice and The Fifth Season as a very close second, but then again I never seem to pick the winner.
    I do wonder if there are any sekret plans in the works for a hardcover edition of The Fifth Season? I have my fingers crossed for a decked out Subterranean Press.

  61. Congratulations, N.K., on your Hugo Award. I just read about you in Sunday’s New York Times. I have tried to get into science fiction, but haven’t quite made it. I can get into fantasy writing; I’m not sure which genre you’re in. Nevertheless, I plan to read your books. I’m going to tell a sister knitter who wants to write science fiction about you, although she may already know about you. I appreciate your mentioning your doubts about writing the book. I’ve had the same feelings about the biography I’m writing. Often, I think, people feel that someone just got up one day and wrote a stellar piece of work. I have to remind myself that this usually is not the case. Once again, congratulations. I’m going to contact a local bookstore that hosts readings by female authors about you. Maybe they’ll invite you to read.

  62. Hey, I just wanted to say that because you won that Hugo I purchased The Fifth Season on Amazon and absolutely loved it. Read the entire thing in less than 2 days. I also bought the bundle of the Inheritance Trilogy and have been tearing through that as well. I can safely say I am now a huge fan.

  63. I just finished listening to Fifth Season for the third time and then devoured Obelisk Gate in a weekend.

    You deserve all the Hugos. ALL OF THEM.

The Broken Earth Book Two:

The Obelisk Gate

Thumbnail of The Obelisk Gate cover

Read Sample Chapter 1