The Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America has named Nalo Hopkinson as the 37th Damon Knight Grand Master. The award is one of the genre’s highest honors. Hopkinson joins the ranks of such authors as Robert Heinlein, Joe Haldeman, Connie Willis, Samuel R. Delany, C.J. Cherryh, Ursula K. Le Guin, Peter S. Beagle, William Gibson, and most recently Lois McMaster Bujold.

Newly minted Damon Knight Grandmaster Nalo Hopkinson

Hopkinson was born in 1960 in Kingston, Jamaica, and grew up in Guyana, Trinidad, Tobago, Connecticut, and Toronto. Her first novel, Brown Girl in the Ring, was published in 1998. This book won the Warner Aspect First Novel award, the Locus Award for Best First Novel and the John W. Campbell Jr. Award (now the Astounding Award). Her books since then have been Midnight Robber (2000), The Salt Roads (2003), The New Moon’s Arms (2007), The Chaos (2012), and Sister Mine (2013), as well as collections of her short fiction, Skin Folk (2001), Report from Planet Midnight (2012), and Falling in Love with Hominids (2015).

She begain teaching at the University of California Riverside in 2011 as a Professor of Creative Writing, has been a writer-in-residence for the Clarion, Clarion West, and Clarion South Writers Workshops, and has guest-edited Lightspeed Magazine and various anthologies. Her career as educator and writer has focused on feminism, colonialism, and Caribbean folklore.

SFWA President Mary Robinette Kowal said in a statement:

“I have loved Nalo Hopkinson’s work since 1999 when I discovered her through the short story “Precious” in a Datlow/Windling anthology Silver Birch, Blood Moon. Each new piece continues to delight me and stretch me as a reader and makes me bolder as a writer.”

“Naming Nalo as Grand Master recognizes not only her phenomenal writing but also her work as an educator who has shaped so many of the rising stars of modern SFF.”

The award will be presented to Hopkinson during next year’s SFWA Nebula Conference, which will take place between June 4th and 6th 2021, which will be held virtually.


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