Award Finalist Feels


Why 2019 might be my best year yet as a SFF writer.

And why I’m taking it all in stride.

“Great kid! Don’t get cocky.”-Han

It’s shaping up to be one heckuva 2019 as far as my SFF writing goes. Part of that is that I’ve had another novella from Publishing come out–The Haunting of Tram Car 015. Even got a review here on NPR. Ooooooh!

But what’s really changed the game for me, is award season. This year, I’ve been blessed by the Award gods, for two works of fiction in particular. It started in January, when I learned the American Library Association had gifted The Black God’s Drums an Alex award. In February, I found out that both The Black God’s Drums and my short story The Secret Lives of the Nine Negro Teeth of George Washington were finalists for Nebula awards. In March, The Secret Lives of the Nine Negro Teeth of George Washington was nominated for a Sturgeon Award. Then in April, both stories were finalists for (wait for it) Hugo awards.

Whew. That’s a lot. In one year.

Since then I’ve kinda just been taking it all in. With academic life (the book manuscript is breathing down my neck) and family life (have I mentioned for the umpteenth time I became a daddy of twin girls?) hurtling at full speed, I’ve had little time to actually celebrate. Or even reflect on what this means. I’m deeply grateful. And humbled. And awed. But I haven’t been over the moon ecstatic. Watching others be ecstatic for me, or seeing the absolute joy of fellow nominees, I get a little twinge.

For the most part though my excitement is muted and a bit stoic. Partly I think, it’s because I’ve been doing this writing thing for a minute. I got lots of rejections under my belt. LOTS. And disappointments. Wrote about em’ remember? I was never really working towards being nominated for anything. Never expected to be. Just getting a story acceptance was a big win. So trying to figure out what I’m supposed to do with this BIG news, is a bit befuddling.

Maybe the rush will come. In time. Not gonna force it. Cuz the feelings right now are enuff. Thank you to everyone who read my stories, who shared em’, who rooted for me, or who voted for them. And congrats to all the other nominees!

In the meanwhile, there are things to prepare for. I get to go and receive my Alex Award this summer. It’s a medal! Okay, I am actually excited about that. A MEDAL! I’m gonna be like Han and Chewie at the end of A New Hope! Scheduling won’t allow me to make it to the Nebulas, unfortunately. And I’m not sure about the Hugos–which is in Dublin this year. But I’ve gotta do stuff like pick people to present acceptance speeches–in the off chance I should…win.

What a world.

Anyway, that’s me right now. Alex Award winning, Hugo and Nebula and Sturgeon nominated writer of SFF.

Ah. Reminds me. One more thing. Update the writer bio.

10 thoughts on “Award Finalist Feels

  1. Wow. I just read “The Secret Lives of the Nine Negro Teeth of George Washington”. This is the first work of yours that I’ve read, but it won’t be the last.

  2. Just read The Black God’s Drums. I wanted to read it out loud for the wonderful language. Loved the characters and the story and the Orisha. Also read Pride by Zoboi today which was a retelling of Pride and Prejudice set in modern Brooklyn with a Black female teenage protagonist, wonderful poetry and a part for Orisha. I will look for your other work. Thank you. Kathryn

  3. Pingback: Been A Minute | Phenderson Djèlí Clark

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