Rebecca Roanhorse, Tochi Onyebuchi, And Others Recognized For Fire Fiction at FIYAHCON 2021’s Ignyte Awards
The creative convention that puts all others to shame.
Last year, the award-winning, quarterly Black speculative publication FIYAH Literary Magazine created the virtual convention FIYACON to celebrate work by people of color in speculative fiction. With this convention came the first-ever Ignyte Awards.
The 2020 inaugural awards featured Silvia Moreno-Garcia’s Gods of Jade and Shadow winning for Best Novel – Adult, Hafsah Faizal’s We Hunt the Flame winning Best Novel – YA, Kwame Mbalia’s Tristan Strong Punches a Hole in the Sky winning Best Novel – MG (Middle Grade), and Best Artist to Grace P. Fong. LeVar Burton won both the Ember Award (for unsung contributions to the genre) and best fiction podcast for his (and others’) work on LeVar Burton Reads. These were among the many awards given for writing, critical analysis, comics, editing, and community work.
With the massive success of the first year, many were hyped and ready to continue this new tradition.
- Novel – Adult, Black Sun by Rebecca Roanhorse (Gallery Books/Saga Press)
- Novel – YA, Legendborn by Tracy Deonn (Margaret K. McElderry Books)
- Novel – MG, Ghost Squad by Claribel A. Ortega (Scholastic)
- Novella, Riot Baby by Tochi Onyebuchi (Tordotcom)
- Novellette, The Inaccessibility of Heaven by Aliette de Bodard (Uncanny Magazine)
- Short Story, You Perfect, Broken Thing by C. L. Clark (Uncanny Magazine)
- Speculative Poetry, The Harrowing Desgarrador by Gabriel Ascencio Morales (Strange Horizons)
- Critics Award, Stitch @ Stitch’s Media Mix
- Fiction Podcast, Nightlight Podcast by Tonia Ransom
- Artist, Odera Igbokwe
- Comics Team, Parable of the Sower: A Graphic Novel Adaptation written by Octavia Butler, adapted by Damian Duffy, illustrated by John Jennings (Abrams ComicArts)
- Anthology/Collected Works, A Phoenix First Must Burn: Sixteen Stories of Black Girl Magic, Resistance, and Hope edited Patrice Caldwell (Viking Books for Young Readers)
- Best in Creative Nonfiction, I Have No Mouth, and I Must Scream: The Duty of the Black Writer During Times of American Unrest by Tochi Onyebuchi (Tor.com)
- Ember Award, Dhonielle Clayton (author and COO of We Need Diverse Books)
- Community Award, #PublishingPaidMe organized by L.L. McKinney & Tochi Onyebuchi
Winners, present and remote, expressed gratitude online.
I absolutely burst into tears the SECOND I got off the screen and scared the hell out of my mom. Thank you so much to everyone who voted for me for #FIYAHCON2021‘s #IgnyteAwards Critics Award. Thank you all so much for recognizing the value in what I do. Thank you thank you <3 https://t.co/ElGCtaD8CO
— Stitch (@stitchmediamix) September 18, 2021
I got called into a family thing and missed the award ceremony but I am absolutely blown away. THANK YOU FIYAHCON🔥 and everyone who voted. 😭Sometimes you write the book of your heart and it fails, and sometimes it freakin flies. This one flew. I am forever grateful.🙏 https://t.co/DaB6qsaHNe
— Rebecca Roanhorse is On Hiatus/Mostly Just Updates (@RoanhorseBex) September 19, 2021
Roanhorse’s win means she is two and 0 on Ignyte Awards at FIYAHCON. Last year, the Indigenous writer won Best Short Story for her entry A Brief Lesson in Native American Astronomy in the myth-retelling anthology The Mythic Dream (edited by Dominik Parisien and Navah Wolfe.) Black Sun is the first in the Between Earth and Sky trilogy, and the second (Fevered Star) releases next spring, pending pushback from the supply chain, etc.
The list above shows the winners, but honestly, the entire list of nominees is also worth checking out. Stephen Gram Jones’s The Only Good Indians (nominated for Best Novel – Adult) is scary AF, Jesse of Bowties and Books is one of my favorite booktubers, and Tor.com has some phenomenal essays. Because The Mary Sue is a partner of Tor Books, we share pieces from some of their authors in the Our Books, Our Shelves series.
Because “speculative fiction” is an umbrella term for literary fiction with otherworldly elements from other genres like sci-fi, fantasy, and horror, the loose genre can help readers find work in places they might not look otherwise. The pieces found on the list also provide thought-provoking and entertaining treasures that scratch multiple itches and reflect the multifaceted nature of most fiction readers. While we have our preferences in the genre, tropes, etc., we usually don’t stick to just one genre, and some of the best authors move between these planes, sometimes in the same story.
FIYAHCON is not just about giving out awards to excellent writers, artists, and critical readers of color. The three-and-a-half-day convention included panels, presentations, games, workshops, and more. It gave people of color creatives (and allies there) opportunities to engage with discourse and engage with the diverse community, regardless of location.
I am generally quite a jaded and cynical person, especially from my previous experience with self-described “inclusive” and “diverse” cons, but #FIYAHCON2021 (+ last year) melt all that down and fill me with an optimism and sense of community and shared hope.
— Nat of the Living Dead @ FIYAHCON (@holymoley) September 20, 2021
“Answer your refund email” as the last word of #FIYAHCON2021 SLAYED ME!
This was a labor of love & determination, & an incredible gift to the community.
Thank you from the bottom of my heart to L, Brent, Suzan, Danny, Iori, Vida, Kay, the volunteers/everyone involved, for this!
— ✊🏾🇵🇷Vita is not here, leave a message🏳️🌈 (@definitelyvita) September 20, 2021
“NO fantasy tropes are overdone. We need more black, queer, perspectives on vampires, zombies, werewolves, you name it. The tropes are done when we say they’re done.”🔥🔥#FIYAHCON2021
— Dr. Phoenix Alexander (@dracopoullos) September 18, 2021
If you are a Black or Palestinian writer or artist looking to submit to the next issue for FIYAH Literary Magazine (The Palestine Solidarity Issue), check here.
(featured image: FIYAH Literary Magazine.)
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