The world may have been a bit distracted this weekend by the Royal Wedding, but in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, there was another, more bookish reason to celebrate. On Saturday night, the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America (SFWA) announced the winners of the 2018 Nebula Awards, and this year's recipients show just how diverse the science fiction and fantasy genre really is.
Over the decades, the science fiction and fantasy have gotten a bad reputation for being exclusionary genre that often marginalized women, people of color, the LGBTQ community — basically anyone who isn't a white, straight, cisgender male. In recent years, however, as readers have become more vocal about their desire for representation in books, that has started to change in a big way, and for the second year in a row, the Nebula Award nominees were wonderfully diverse. Dominated by women yet again, this year's list of contenders included a variety of the genre's biggest names, including Mur Lafferty and Martha Wells, as well as several exciting debut authors, including Theodora Goss and Annalee Newitz.
When this year's winners were announced at the annual Nebula Awards Banquet Saturday night, best-selling and multi-award winning author N.K. Jemisin was given the evening's biggest honor. Her fantasy book The Stone Sky took home the award for Best Novel. Although she was not there to accept in person, Jemisin did take a break from writing to share here excitement. "I was so proud of myself for grinding out 10 pages today," she wrote on Twitter late Saturday night, "and just turned on my phone again to find I won a Nebula. OMG. Thanks for all the congrats, everyone! And congrats to my fellow winners!"
The Stone Sky is the final installment of Jemisin The Broken Earth trilogy which also includes the author's two Hugo Award-winning novels, The Fifth Season and The Obelisk Gate. Although this is the first time Jemisin took home a coveted Nebula Award, it's certainly not the first time the critically acclaimed author has been nominated. In 2010, her short story "Non-Zero Probabilities" was nominated for Nebula's Best Short Story Award, and then in 2011, her debut novel The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms was nominated for Best Novel. After winning Saturday night, Jemisin took a moment to reflect on her previous nominations and share an inspiring message with her fans an aspiring writers on Twitter. "I was *sure* I wouldn't win tonight. Not for the 3rd book of a trilogy. That'll learn me," her tweet read in part.
This year marked her first win at the Nebula Awards, but Jemisin was already an award-winning author prior to Saturday night's announcement. Her book The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms won the 2011 Locus Award for Best First Novel, as well as the Sense of Gender Award. The other titles in her Broken Earth trilogy are both Hugo Award winners, and two of Jemisin's novels, The Broken Kingdoms and The Shadowed Sun have been awarded Romantic Times Reviewers' Choice Award for Best Fantasy Novel.
With her latest win at the 2018 Nebula Awards, Jemisin has firmly established herself as one of the genre's best writers — but she isn't the only one. Actor, comedian, writer, producer, and director Jordan Peele also made headlines after Saturday's banquet when his Academy Award-winning film Get Out was awarded the Ray Bradbury Award for Outstanding Dramatic Presentation. Peele shared his excitement on Twitter, saying he was "Crazy honored" by it.
Other major winners at the Nebula Awards included Martha Wells's All Systems Red, which took home the award for Best Novella, Kelly Robson's "A Human Stain," which was awarded Best Novelette, and Rebecca Roanhorse's "Welcome to Your Authentic Indian ExperienceTM." Peter S. Beagle, who is best known for his iconic fantasy The Last Unicorn, was awarded the Damon Knight Memorial Grand Master Award, joining such legends as Ursula K. Le Guin, Isaac Asimov, and others.
Since 1965, the SFWA has recognized the best in science fiction and fantasy novels, novellas, novelettes, and short stories with the Nebula Awards. In 2000, the category Award for Best Script was added to acknowledge the best in dramatic presentation. For over 50 years, the Nebula Awards have honored the incredible work of the genre's most talented writers and creators, and in 2018, that also means recognizing its growing diversity.