N.K. Jemisin makes history at the Hugo Awards with third win in a row for best novel


The winners of the Hugo Awards, considered some of the most prestigious science fiction and fantasy literary prizes, were announced on Sunday, with science fiction author N.K. Jemisin making history as the first writer ever to win the best novel award three years in a row.

Jemisin won the prize for “The Stone Sky,” the third book in her “Broken Earth” trilogy. The previous two books in the series, “The Fifth Season” and “The Obelisk Gate,” both won the best novel award as well.

During her acceptance speech at the World Science Fiction Convention in San Jose, Jemisin said, “I get a lot of questions about where the themes of the Broken Earth trilogy come from. I think it’s pretty obvious that I’m drawing on the human history of structural oppression, as well as my feelings about this moment in American history.”


But she also sounded a note of optimism.

“I want you to remember that 2018 is also a good year. This is a year in which records have been set,” Jemisin said. “A year in which even the most privilege-blindered of us has been forced to acknowledge that the world is broken and needs fixing — and that’s a good thing! Acknowledging the problem is the first step toward fixing it. I look to science fiction and fantasy as the aspirational drive of the Zeitgeist: We creators are the engineers of possibility. And as this genre finally, however grudgingly, acknowledges that the dreams of the marginalized matter and that all of us have a future, so will go the world.”

Jemisin’s fans took to Twitter to celebrate her historic hat trick. Among them was her cousin, the television host and comedian W. Kamau Bell, who noted that Jemisin’s books have yet to be adapted into film:

Television producer Shonda Rhimes responded to Bell with a link to a year-old Deadline story about “The Fifth Season” being adapted into a TNT television program, and Jemisin replied.

At the Hugos, women writers received a number of significant awards. Martha Wells took home the prize for best novella for “All Systems Red”; Suzanne Palmer won in the best novelette category for “The Secret Life of Bots”; Rebecca Roanhorse won the best short story prize for “Welcome to your Authentic Indian Experience (TM)”; and Lois McMaster Bujold won best series for “World of the Five Gods.”


The late Ursula K. Le Guin won in the best related work category for her essay collection “ No Time to Spare: Thinking About What Matters.”

And Nnedi Okorafor took home a non-Hugo award for best young adult book for her novel “Akata Warrior.”

The Hugo Awards also give prizes for films and television shows. The award for best dramatic presentation, long form, went to the film “Wonder Woman,” written by Allan Heinberg and directed by Patty Jenkins. The movie beat out the Oscar-winning films “The Shape of Water” and “Get Out.”

The prize for best dramatic presentation, short form, went to “The Trolley Problem,” an episode of the sitcom “The Good Place,” written by Josh Siegal and Dylan Morgan and directed by Dean Holland. Other nominated shows in the category included “Black Mirror” and “Doctor Who.”

A full list of this year’s winners is available at the Hugo Awards website.