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

64 Responses »

  1. 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!!

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

  3. Great Book, well deserved.

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

  5. 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!)

  6. 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!

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

  8. 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

  9. 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!

  10. 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.

  11. 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.

  12. 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.

  13. 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.

  14. 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.