The annual SFWA Nebula Conference and 57th Nebula Awards will be held May 19–22, 2022. The conference will be SFWA’s first hybrid event, taking place in person in Los Angeles and aboard the virtual Airship Nebula online. We will be opening registration soon, so keep an eye on nebulas.sfwa.org for more information!
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The Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America, Inc. (SFWA) is pleased to announce the winners of the 56th Annual Nebula Awards®. These awards are given to the writers of the best speculative fiction works released in 2020, as voted on by Full, Associate, and Senior SFWA members. The awards were presented at the live broadcast of the 56th Annual Nebula Awards Ceremony, hosted by Toastmaster Aydrea Walden.
The winners are as follows:
Network Effect, Martha Wells (Tordotcom)
Ring Shout, P. Djèlí Clark (Tordotcom)
“Two Truths and a Lie”, Sarah Pinsker (Tor.com)
BEST SHORT STORY
“Open House on Haunted Hill”, John Wiswell (Diabolical Plots)
THE ANDRE NORTON NEBULA AWARD FOR MIDDLE GRADE AND YOUNG ADULT FICTION
A Wizard’s Guide to Defensive Baking, T. Kingfisher (Argyll)
BEST GAME WRITING
Hades, Greg Kasavin (Supergiant)
THE RAY BRADBURY NEBULA AWARD FOR OUTSTANDING DRAMATIC PRESENTATION
The Good Place: “Whenever You’re Ready”, Michael Schur, NBC (Fremulon/3 Arts Entertainment/Universal)
Additional awards and honors presented:
THE SFWA DAMON KNIGHT MEMORIAL GRAND MASTER AWARD
THE KATE WILHELM SOLSTICE AWARD
Ben Bova (posthumous)
Rachel Caine (posthumous)
THE KEVIN J. O’DONNELL, JR. SERVICE TO SFWA AWARD
Presenters joined virtually from around the country, including SFWA President Mary Robinette Kowal, SFWA Vice President Tobias S. Buckell, incoming SFWA President Jeffe Kennedy, and writers and creatives Nisi Shawl, Carrie Patel, Mallory O’Meara, Mark Oshiro, Troy L. Wiggins, and Adam Savage.
The winners of the 56th Annual Nebula Awards® will be announced at our annual ceremony this Saturday! SFWA members and the general public can watch live, whether or not you’re attending the Nebula Conference. As previously announced, writer and comedian Aydrea Walden will host for the second year.
The 56th Annual Nebula Awards Ceremony
Saturday, June 5, 2021
Livestreaming at 5pm PT
Last week, we released a trailer for the ceremony that gives just a glimpse of the fun and celebration we have planned for the program: https://youtu.be/jV-LEtHvboI. This year’s presenters include Tobias S. Buckell, Jeffe Kennedy, Nisi Shawl, Carrie Patel, Mallory O’Meara, Mark Oshiro, Troy L. Wiggins, and Adam Savage.
At both the Facebook and YouTube event links, you can set a reminder to make sure you don’t miss one of the premiere SFWA events of the year! Closed captioning will be provided. We can all take pride in recognizing the fantastic work that the speculative fiction community released in 2020.
Enjoy the show!
The SFWA Events Team
Update: Our scholarship applications are now closed with the exception of those for Black writers.
Scholarship for Black Writers: A part of SFWA’s BlackLivesMatter Initiative, this scholarship is open to Black writers in the U.S. and abroad. To learn more about this initiative, visit this release on the SFWA.org website. This scholarship is awarded outside of the lottery system and will be available until June 6th, 2021. Any interested applicants should send an email to email@example.com.
We’re rapidly approaching the 2021 Nebula Conference and our next Airship Nebula voyage!
Are you looking to increase the visibility of your latest book release? Wishing for a private Zoom gathering with friends during the Nebula Awards ceremony or at any time over the weekend? Interested in getting your brand in front of hundreds of conference attendees?
Share this opportunity with your publishers, agents, and other industry friends! Sponsorship is a great way to promote a book or podcast, get visibility for your business, or host a private gathering for fellow authors and clients. We’ll work with you to create a package that fits your needs and budget.
Can’t wait to hear from you!
The Nebula Sponsorship Team
For the first time, SFWA is opening a store for Nebula Conference-related gear and memorabilia. We are excited to offer this chance to stock up on SFWA and Nebula swag while simultaneously supporting our work to advocate for the speculative fiction genres and writers.
Some of that work includes providing Nebula Conference scholarships for underserved communities within the larger speculative fiction community. To that end, SFWA is offering the following scholarships for this year’s Nebula Conference:
- Scholarship for Black Writers: A part of SFWA’s Black Lives Matter Initiative, this scholarship is open to Black writers in the U.S. and abroad. To learn more about this initiative, visit this release on the SFWA.org website.
- Scholarship for AAPI Writers: A part of SFWA’s AAPI Initiative for 2021, this scholarship is available to Asian writers, Asian American writers, and writers from the Pacific Islands. To learn more about this initiative, visit this release on the SFWA.org website. (limited quantity: 25)
- Scholarship for Writers Based Outside of the U.S.: In an effort to remove financial barriers that may exist for prospective attendees living abroad, we are offering a limited number of free tickets for writers living outside the U.S. (limited quantity: 25)
- Workshop Scholarship: This scholarship is for writers who have been accepted to or attended a writing workshop from June 2020 through June 2021. (limited quantity: 25)
With the exception of the scholarship for Black writers, which will remain available for all Black writers until June 6, 2021, scholarship applications must be completed on this form by May 1, 11:59pm Eastern Time. From the applicant pool, the scholarship recipients will be selected by lottery.
SFWA’s president, Mary Robinette Kowal, had the following to say about the available scholarships, “There are a lot of gatekeepers in the publishing landscape and with these scholarships, we’re hoping that SFWA can begin to open gates for writers.”
The SFWA Store is branded as The Airship Nebula Gift Shop in keeping with the shared-world experience of the 2021 Nebula Conference Online. That shared world is one aspect of the “Airship Nebula” virtual socializing spaces that are intended to build community among attendees, offering the networking benefits of an in-person conference while hosting it fully online for a second year. Registered participants will receive $20 off their first purchase from the store.
The scholarships and the conference are open to SFWA members and nonmembers alike. For $125 registration, conference participants will gain entry to professional development panels, mentorship opportunities, office hours with experts, an archive of the content, and access to ongoing educational events throughout the following year.
Questions about the scholarships, the store, or the upcoming conference may be directed to the SFWA Events Team at firstname.lastname@example.org.
This Saturday, SFWA will hold the Nebula Finalist Reception to honor the 56th Annual Nebula Awards finalists.
The 2021 Nebula Award Finalist Reception
Saturday, March 20, 2021
4pm – 8pm Pacific Time
The Nebula Finalist Reception is a night of celebration for the finalists and for participants who have already registered to attend the 2021 Nebula Conference Online. Reception attendees will be able to listen to finalists read from their nominated works, watch the Game Writing finalists demo their nominated games, visit our virtual bar, and network in our socializing spaces using Zoom.
The finalists were announced this past Monday, March 15, as part of the 2021 Nebula Awards Launch (replay on Facebook or YouTube), an evening that featured sizzle reels and performances by SAG-AFTRA narrators of the nominated works. Here is the full list of finalists for all seven Nebula Award categories.
Writers who would like to attend the reception should purchase their registrations for the 2021 Nebula Conference Online to grant them access to the event.
For $125, the June 4–6 conference will include early events like the Nebula Finalist Reception, professional development panels, virtual socializing spaces dubbed the “Airship Nebula,” mentorship opportunities, office hours with experts, an archive of the content, and access to ongoing educational events throughout the following year. Geared toward professional and aspiring writers alike, participants do not have to be SFWA members to attend the conference.
We look forward to welcoming our early registrants for the 2021 Nebula Conference and the 56th Annual Nebula Awards finalists on Saturday! For questions about the event or about the conference, please contact the SFWA Events Team at email@example.com.
Kowal shares, “I look forward to introducing the outstanding works that comprise this year’s Nebula ballot to the larger science fiction and fantasy community. Our partnership with SAG-AFTRA gives us an opportunity to highlight the power of these wonderful finalists.”
The results of the final ballot will be announced at the 56th Annual Nebula Awards® ceremony during the 2021 Nebula Conference Online, June 4–6, 2021. Open to SFWA members and nonmembers alike, the annual Nebula Conference is taking place entirely online for a second year.
For $125 registration, participants will gain entry to professional development panels, virtual socializing spaces dubbed the “Airship Nebula,” mentorship opportunities, office hours with experts, an archive of the content, and access to ongoing educational events throughout the following year.
Questions about the launch, the awards, or the upcoming conference may be directed to the SFWA Events Team at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Nebula Programming Committee has prepared a preview of the programming for the 2021 Nebula Conference Online. Though these items are neither comprehensive nor final, they represent the well-rounded, professional experience we’re aiming to deliver.
If you’re inspired to contribute more panel ideas or recommend panelists, including yourself, to weigh in on these topics or newly proposed ones, please submit your ideas on this form. Programming suggestions must be received by March 15, and panelist recommendations by April 1.
And don’t forget to register for the 2021 Nebula Conference Online! It’s taking place June 4-6, 2021. Register here.
Setting Boundaries: A writing career often comes with attention—wanted and unwanted. What kinds of boundaries do you set as an author with your readers, and how do those change throughout your career? Authors across the publishing spectrum discuss how they interact with, acknowledge, and encourage their readers while maintaining personal boundaries.
Crafting the First Line: Stories range from a few sentences to tens of thousands, but one does more heavy lifting than all the others: the first. What makes it snag and what makes it sing? Authors and editors discuss what makes a first line successful at a craft level, breaking down their favorites and sharing their own strategies.
Taxes and Finances for Non-U.S. Writers Published in the United States: Publishing in the US from overseas requires getting one’s head around two or more systems of currency, banking, taxation, and international relationships. This panel cannot cover all the various treaties and situations with different countries, but it can give some starting points, issues to be aware of, options for transferring money for both traditional and independently published writers, and tips on what to do when you are offered payment in a method that no longer exists in your country.
Maintaining A Good Relationship With Your Agent: Writers are often so focused on the querying process that they’re not sure what to do once they’ve secured representation. On this panel, authors and agents discuss healthy strategies for maintaining a good business relationship—and how to know when it’s time to move on.
What Sheltering In Teaches Us About our Speculative Worlds: In Pandemic Land, those who could stayed at home while those who had to worked in the plague minefield. What does this teach us about our fantasy worlds? Is baking bread really like baking bread? How does a temper tantrum work on a generation ship when you’ve nowhere to blow off steam? And for essential workers, how does class and privilege come into play in dystopic worlds?
Hometown Heroes: Working and Writing Globally: What does success look like outside of the U.S.? It’s often assumed that “international” authors want to break into the American market, but it’s a big world out there. In this panel, writers from a variety of countries discuss their experiences, their goals, and what they might need from the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers “of America.”
Writing Through Pain and Fatigue: Writers with chronic illnesses, pains, and other disabilities can find even managing regular day-to-day life a challenge, much less the added challenges of writing and publishing. Panelists discuss the methods that help them navigate these challenges, and share strategies for writers in similar situations.
How Quarantine Has Changed the Middle Grade and Young Adult Markets: The MG/YA market shifted in 2020 due to COVID, with distance-learning for kids, the cancelation of large book expos, and the temporary closure of bookstores and libraries. How will the world of bookselling and promotion look when quarantine ends? Which changes are worth keeping? Writers, agents, and editors discuss ways to stay agile as the rules begin to shift.
Middle Grade and Young Adult Literature… in Spaaaaace!: Our community has long understood the appeal of space-based science fiction, but for some reason, this sort of SF is a tough sell in the middle grade and young adult markets. What craft techniques can we use to make our science fiction more appealing to gatekeepers such as teachers and librarians who don’t necessarily see the allure? How can we spin or promote our works to overcome this barrier?
Taking Marginalization to Acquisitions: Pitching in acquisitions can be a fight—for some projects more than others. In this panel, editors discuss how they approach pitching books featuring marginalized identities and non-western inspired worlds in acquisition meetings to marketing and sales teams that might fear they are not “commercial enough.”
Bridging Verse and Prose in Speculative Writing: What can speculative fiction learn from speculative poetry, and vice versa? Our panelists discuss how their experience in one field informs the other, where the two blend, and advice for writers trying to expand or improve their repertoire.
Hanging up Your Shingle – How to Start in Freelance Editorial: Professional editorial businesses are a lively part of the publishing industry, but how does one get started? From setting up your business, deciding on rates, and advertising your services to professional etiquette and basic information about tax concerns inside and outside the US, experienced freelance editors give insights on how writers can set up their own businesses in editorial. This panel is open to writers and agents looking to become freelance editors and editors transitioning to self-employment.
By Our Powers Combined – Writing Collaboratively: Two (or more) minds can be better than one when it comes to storytelling! Authors share their collaboration stories: how group projects come to be, what strategies make for effecting idea-sharing & writing, and how to pitch their work to publishers.
Interrogating Scare Tactics – Today’s Horror Writing: The dark, the dreary, and the flat-out terrifying: horror has managed to shock and awe readers for generations. The genre also has a long and troubling history, often playing upon racist, sexist, and ableist fears of the Other. How are current horror writers subverting this sordid past? What thrilling new twists can we expect from horror writing today?
Thinking Big, Publishing Small: Too often, small presses are seen as either a stepping stone for authors who really want “Big 5” traditional publishing contracts, or a fallback for those who can’t get a deal. But many authors deliberately choose small presses. This panel explores the pros and cons, the ups and downs, and the reasons for publishing small.
Beyond Superheroes – Indie Science Fiction Graphic Novel Showcase: Some of the most interesting science fiction stories told in recent years have been in the medium of graphic novels. Join experienced creators and editors, discover new graphic novel authors and learn about the possibilities of this vital medium.
Actually Writing the Comic You Promised: These days, many graphic novels are sold to editors on proposal, often with an outline—or only a brief summary. On this panel, experienced comics writers will discuss the unique challenges of writing a graphic novel script that’s already been sold.
Transitioning To Tabletop Games Writing: Writing for tabletop games is profoundly different than writing for almost any other genre. This panel will take a look at what it takes to write well for TTRPGs, which skills transfer between mediums, and how to become comfortable with writing for both mainstream and indie tabletop games.
This Ain’t the Hero’s Journey – Writing for Video Games: Writing for video games opens a whole new world of story structure in the quest to create a compelling narrative. But how do you know which tools to use and when? This panel shares tips, tricks, and approaches that keep players engaged, maintain player agency, and craft a story that builds and engages.
Being Your Own Marketer & Publicist – Promoting Your Novel: Your novel is written, edited, and published, but how do you get readers to buy it? Indie authors are responsible for the marketing and publicity that sends readers to their sale pages. While this can sound like a daunting prospect, it doesn’t have to be! Join our panelists to explore marketing tools including newsletters, paid advertising, price promotions, blog tours, perma frees, and more, with strategies for all authors—indies, small press, and Big 5—to help get eyes on your book.
Beyond Three-Act Structure: Over and over, we’re told stories should follow the “classic three-act structure,” incorporating tension, conflict, and character arcs. But storytelling has always had myriad forms, from older oral narratives to experimental transmedia projects—and those vary between cultures and over time. Does structure really make the story? Which ones? Our panelists will question received wisdom, share their ideas on building story, and highlight various non-three-act structural approaches you can incorporate into your writing toolbox.
Writing Speculative Justice: Many envision a new role and future for the justice system in the United States and across the world—one that is more restorative, more equitable, and more just. As writers build our own worlds, what can and should we be thinking about when it comes to justice? How does our approach to laws, crime, retribution, and restoration impact the rest of our worldbuilding, characters, and plots? How can we craft a more just future?
The Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America (SFWA, Inc.) is pleased to announce that the Kate Wilhelm Solstice Award will be presented to Jarvis Sheffield and posthumously to Ben Bova and Rachel Caine at the 56th Annual SFWA Nebula Awards®.
The Kate Wilhelm Solstice Award is given by SFWA for distinguished contributions to the science fiction and fantasy community. Bova, Caine, and Sheffield join the ranks of previous Solstice Award winners, including Octavia E. Butler, James Tiptree, Jr., and Carl Sagan. The awards will be presented at the 56th Nebula Awards, the weekend of June 4–6, 2021.
A prolific and award-winning author, Ben Bova took over the editorial chair for Analog Science Fiction/Science Fact following the death of John W. Campbell and helmed the magazine for seven years. He established Omni Magazine in 1978, where he served as editorial director and provided a new market for short science fiction. Bova’s work ranged beyond the genre; he was the only SFWA president who also served as president of the National Space Society. Bova passed away in November 2020. He is a recipient of the Solstice Award for his long history of editorial work, including his efforts to nurture new authors and to advance the use of science in science fiction.
SFWA President Mary Robinette Kowal remarked, “Ben Bova was so deeply immersed in science fiction that having his name on a project was a stamp of quality, be that as an editor or as a writer. More than that, Ben was kind. He knew how hard breaking into the field was and created new opportunities for early career writers.”
Rachel Caine was the bestselling author of several fantasy, science fiction, and thriller series. She was dedicated to supporting newer authors, not only financially, but also mentoring them to successful careers. Caine was a champion of independent bookstores and classrooms, aiming to ensure that teachers had the tools needed to educate their students and that independent bookstores could remain in business in the face of corporate competition. Caine passed away in November 2020. Even after her passing, Caine’s dedication to supporting others continued, including directing donations in her memory toward SFWA’s Emergency Medical Fund and the Mary Crowley Cancer Research Institute.
SFWA President Mary Robinette Kowal noted, “Rachel Caine was a prolific and wonderful writer, but also dedicated herself to using her platform to lift up others. From mentoring to fundraising efforts, Rachel was always there for the community.”
Jarvis Sheffield has a long history of working to help diversify the science fiction community, among authors and fans. He helped establish and manage the Diversity Track at DragonCon as the track’s director. He is also the founder of the Black Science Fiction Society and has also served as the editor for Genesis Science Fiction Magazine. Sheffield’s work has helped strengthen and expand the scope of science fiction by welcoming Black authors into the field and providing them venues to express their voices in the speculative fiction community.
SFWA President Mary Robinette Kowal said, “The work that Jarvis Sheffield has been doing through the Black Science Fiction Society has created a dedicated home for promoting Black SF. The knowledge that he’s shared about independent publishing has created a path for many authors to do an end-run around the roadblocks created by systemic biases within traditional publishing. Many of the voices we celebrate today came into the field because of his efforts to create a safe space.”
The 56th Nebula Awards® will take place during the 2021 Nebula Conference Online, an annual professional development conference organized by SFWA for aspiring and established members of the speculative fiction industry. Registration is $125 and may be purchased at events.sfwa.org.