This Place graphic novel among finalists for new literary awards recognizing diversity in speculative fiction

The Igynte Awards recognize science fiction, speculative fiction and fantasy that reflect diversity and inclusion. The finalists "represent the brightest lights in speculative fiction’s future."
"Some stories were told but not through an Indigenous lens, so this an opportunity for us to share and tell our stories," This Place: 150 Years Retold contributor Brandon Mitchell said. (Logan Perley/CBC)

Several Canadians have been nominated for the inaugural Igynte Awards, which recognize the works of science fiction, speculative fiction and fantasy that reflect diversity and inclusion. The finalists "represent the brightest lights in speculative fiction's future," according to the prizes' website.

Awards will be given out in 15 categories, recognizing fiction, nonfiction, poetry, criticism and community building.

This Place is a comic book anthology featuring the work of Indigenous creators as they retell the history of Canada. Elements of fantasy and magical realism are incorporated throughout the book, telling the stories of characters like Jack Fiddler, an Anishinaabe shaman facing murder charges, and Rosie, an Inuk girl growing up during the Second World War. 

Contributors include Kateri Akiwenzie-Damm, Sonny Assu, Brandon Mitchell, Rachel and Sean Qitsualik-Tinsley, David A. Robertson, Niigaanwewidam James Sinclair, Jen Storm, Richard Van CampKatherena Vermette, Chelsea Vowel, Tara Audibert, Kyle Charles, GMB Chomichuk, Natasha Donovan, Scott B. Henderson, Ryan Howe, Andrew Lodwick, Scott A. Ford, Donovan Yaciuk and Alicia Elliott.

This Is How You Lose the Time War by American Max Gladstone and Canadian Amal El-Mohtar is a finalist in the best novella category.

This Is How You Lose the Time War is about two time-travelling agents from warring factions who begin a clandestine correspondence. They're each determined to make sure their side has the best hope for the future. But when they fall in love, their secret may have deadly consequences.

This Is How You Lose the Time War is Gladstone and El-Mohtar's first book together. El-Mohtar is based in Ottawa. She is also the author of the collection The Honey Month.

Two Canadian titles are finalists for best novel: Gods of Jade and Shadow by Silvia Moreno-Garcia and Jade War by Fonda Lee.

Gods of Jade and Shadow is about what happens when an ancient Mayan god is accidentally freed. Casiopea is a young woman living in a small Mexican town, dreaming of a better life. But when she finds a strange wooden box in her grandfather's room, she opens it, freeing the spirit of the Mayan god of death. Casiopea ends up on a journey across Mexico to help recover the throne from his evil brother. 

Moreno-Garcia is a Canadian writer who was born in Mexico. Her other books include The Beautiful Ones, Signal to Noise and Untamed Shore.

Jade War is the second book in Lee's Green Bone Saga, which is about the struggle for power on the island of Kekon, where magical jade is essential to the community's structure, wellbeing and purpose. Controlling the jade supply means you control everything. 

The next book in the series, Jade Legacy, will be published in 2021.

Lee, who was born and raised in Canada, but currently lives in Portland, Ore., is also the author of the novels ZeroboxerExo and Cross Fire.

Swedish-Canadian writer and translator Maria Haskins is a finalist for the critics category, which recognizes excellence in review and analysis of speculative writing.

Grace P. Fong, an illustrator currently living in Vancouver, is a finalist for best artist. She illustrates covers and promotional materials for science fiction and speculative fiction.

Toronto-based Malon Edwards is nominated for the Ember Award, which recognizes "unsung contributions" to the genres of speculative fiction, science fiction and fantasy. Edwards has written several steampunk and urban fantasy short stories, and his work has been published in Fiyah Literary Magazine, Fireside, Terraform and Shimmer.

FiyahCon is a convention for BIPOC writers, creators and readers in science fiction, speculative fiction and fantasy. It is being organized by the Fiyah Literary Magazine and will take place virtually Oct. 17-18, 2020.

The finalists for the Igynte Awards were chosen by 15 staff members from FiyahCon.

The winners will be chosen by a public vote. Voting is open until Sept. 11, 2020. Winners will be announced at the festival. You can cast your vote here.

The complete list of finalists in all categories is below.

Best novel — adult

Best novel — YA

  • Pet by Akwaeke Emezi
  • The Everlasting Rose by Dhonielle Clayton
  • Slay by Brittney Morris
  • War Girls by Tochi Onyebuchi
  • We Hunt the Flame by Hafsah Faizal

Best in middle-grade

  • Tristan Strong Punches a Hole in the Sky by Kwame Mbalia
  • Just South of Home by Karen Strong
  • The Mystwick School of Musicraft by Jessica Khoury
  • Other Words for Home by Jasmine Warga
  • Sal and Gabi Break the Universe by Carlos Hernandez

Best novella

Best novelette

  • Emergency Skin by N.K. Jemisin (published in the Amazon Forward Collection)
  • While Dragons Claim the Sky by Jen Brown (published in FIYAH Literary Magazine)
  • Circus Girl, The Hunter, and Mirror Boy by JY Neon Yang ( published by
  • The Archronology of Love by Caroline M. Yoachim (published in Lightspeed)
  • Omphalos by Ted Chiang (published in Exhalation: Stories)

Best short story

  • Ten Excerpts from an Annotated Bibliography on the Cannibal Women of Ratnabar Island by Nibedita Sen (published in Nightmare Magazine)
  • Dune Song by Suyi Davies Okungbowa (published in Apex Magazine)
  • And Now His Lordship is Laughing by Shiv Ramdas (published in Strange Horizons)
  • Canst Thou Draw Out the Leviathan by Christopher Caldwell (published in Uncanny Magazine)
  • A Brief Lesson in Native American Astronomy by Rebecca Roanhorse (published in Mythic Dream)

Best in speculative poetry

  • Heaven is Expensive by Ruben Reyes, Jr.  (published in Strange Horizons)
  • Elegy for the Self as Villeneuve's Beast by Brandon O'Brien (published in Uncanny Magazine)
  • A Conversation Between the Embalmed Heads of Lampião and Maria Bonita on Public Display at the Baiano State Forensic Institute, Circa Mid-20th Century by Woody Dismukes (published in Strange Horizons)
  • Those Who Tell the Stories by Davian Aw (published in Strange Horizons)
  • goddess in forced repose by Tamara Jerée (published in Uncanny Magazine)

Best Anthology/Collected Works

  • The Mythic Dream
  • Broken Stars: Contemporary Chinese Fiction in Translation
  • New Suns: Original Speculative Fiction by People of Color
  • This Place: 150 Years Retold
  • A People's Future of the United States

Best in creative nonfiction

  • AfroSurrealism: The African Diaspora's Surrealist Fiction by Rochelle Spencer
  • The Dark Fantastic by Ebony Elizabeth Thomas
  • Black Horror Rising by Tananarive Due
  • Our Opinions are Correct by Charlie Jane Anders & Annalee Newitz
  • Tongue-Tied: A Catalog of Losses by Layla Al-Bedawi

Critics Award

  • Jesse 
  • Charles Payseur
  • Maria Haskins
  • Alex Brown
  • Liz Bourke

Best fiction podcast

  • PodCastle
  • Nightlight Podcast
  • LeVar Burton Reads
  • Beneath Ceaseless Skies
  • Obsidian Podcast

Best artist

  • Geneva Bowers
  • Nilah Magruder
  • Grace P. Fong
  • John Picacio
  • Paul Lewin

Best comics team

  • These Savage Shores, created by Ram V, Sumit Kumar, Vitorio Astone, Aditya Bidikar & Tim Daniel
  • Blackbird Vol. 1, created by Sam Humphries, Jen Bartel & Triona Farrell
  • Excellence, created by Khary Randolph, Brandon Thomas, Emilio Lopez & Deron Bennett
  • Coda, created by Simon Spurrier, Matías Bergara, Michael Doig, Jim Campbell & Colin Bell
  • Bitter Root, created by David F Walker, Chuck Brown & Sanford Greene

The Ember Award

  • Tananarive Due
  • LeVar Burton
  • Keidra Chaney
  • Nisi Shawl
  • Malon Edwards

The Community Award

  • Beth Phelan
  • Mary Robinette Kowal
  • Diana M. Pho
  • Writing The Other
  • Strange Horizons 

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