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Announcing The 2021 Ignyte Awards Shortlist

Ignyte Awards 2021 logo

The FIYAHCON 2021 Committee is thrilled to announce the finalists for the 2021 Ignyte Awards. The Awards seek to celebrate the vibrancy and diversity of the current and future landscapes of science fiction, fantasy, and horror by recognizing incredible feats in storytelling and outstanding efforts toward inclusivity of the genre. To that effect, the committee feels that these creators, creations, entities, and perspectives from 2020 represent the brightest lights in speculative fiction’s future. We encourage you to seek out the nominees unfamiliar to you on this list, engage with their works of fiction or acts of community, and to use those experiences to inform your vote.

Best Novel – Adult

for novel-length (40k+ words) works intended for the adult audience

Black Sun – Rebecca Roanhorse (Gallery Books/Saga Press)

The City We Became – N. K. Jemisin (Orbit)

Midnight Bargain – C. L. Polk (Erewhon Books)

The Only Good Indians – Stephen Graham Jones (Gallery Books/Saga Press)

Vagabonds – Hao Jingfang, translated by Ken Liu (Gallery Books/Saga Press)


Best Novel – YA

for novel-length (40k+ words) works intended for the young adult audience

Elatsoe – Darcie Little Badger (Levine Querido)

Legendborn – Tracy Deonn (Margaret K. McElderry Books)

Raybearer – Jordan Ifueko (Amulet Books)

A Song Below Water – Bethany Morrow (Tor Teen)

A Sky Beyond the Storm – Sabaa Tahir (Razorbill)


Best in MG

for works intended for the middle grade audience

Frightville: Curse of the Wish Eater – Mike Ford (Scholastic Paperbacks)

Ghost Squad – Claribel A. Ortega (Scholastic)

Maya and the Rising Dark – Rena Barron (HMH Books for Young Readers)

Race to the Sun – Rebecca Roanhorse (Read Riordan/Disney Publishing Worldwide)

A Wish in the Dark – Christina Soontornvat (Candlewick Press)


Best Novella

for speculative works ranging from 17,500-39,999 words

Empress of Salt and Fortune – Nghi Vo (Tordotcom)

The Four Profound Weaves – R. B. Lemberg (Tachyon Publications)

Ring Shout – P. Djèli Clark (Tordotcom)

Riot Baby – Tochi Onyebuchi (Tordotcom)

Stone & Steel – Eboni J. Dunbar (Neon Hemlock)


Best Novelette

for speculative works ranging from 7,500-17,499 words

The Inaccessibility of Heaven – Aliette de Bodard (Uncanny Magazine)

Love Hangover – Sheree Renée Thomas (Mocha Memoirs Press)

The Night Sun – Zin E. Rocklyn (Tordotcom)

One Hand in the Coffin – Justin C. Key (Strange Horizons)

The Transition of Osoosi – Ozzie M. Gartrell (FIYAH)


Best Short Story

for speculative works ranging from 2,000-7,499 words

Body, Remember – Nicasio Andres Reed (Fireside Magazine)

EXPRESS TO BEIJING WEST RAILWAY STATION | 开往西站的特别列车 – Congyun ‘Mu Ming’ Gu, translated by Kiera Johnson (Samovar)

My Country is a Ghost – Eugenia Triantafyllou (Uncanny Magazine)

Rat and Finch are Friends – Innocent Chizaram Ilo (Strange Horizons)

You Perfect, Broken Thing – C. L. Clark (Uncanny Magazine)


Best in Speculative Poetry

The Alt-History of King Kong – Renoir Gaither (Speculative City)

Fin – Terese Mason Pierre (Uncanny Magazine)

The Harrowing Desgarrador – Gabriel Ascencio Morales (Strange Horizons)

Hungry Ghost – Millie Ho (Uncanny Magazine)

Tequila Mockingbird | Matar un Ruiseñor – Raúl Gallardo Flores, translated by Juan Martinez (Strange Horizons)


Critics Award

for reviews and analysis of the field of speculative literature

Jesse @ Bowties & Books

Charles Payseur @ Quick Sip Reviews

Maria Haskins

A. C. Wise

Stitch @ Stitch’s Media Mix


Best Fiction Podcast

for excellence in audio performance and production for speculative fiction

Beneath Ceaseless Skies – Editor Scott H. Andrews

Escape Pod – Editors Mur Lafferty and S.B. Divya; Assistant Editor Benjamin C. Kinney; Hosts Tina Connolly and Alasdair Stuart, Audio Producers Summer Brooks and Adam Pracht, and the entire Escape Pod team

Nightlight Podcast – Tonia Ransom

PodCastle – Editors Jen R. Albert, Cherae Clark, Khaalidah Muhammad-Ali, Host + Assistant Editor Setsu Uzume, & Audio Producer Peter Adrian Behravesh

The Magnus Archives – Written and performed by Jonathan Sims, Directed by Alexander J Newall, Produced by Lowri Ann Davies. Distributed by Rusty Quill


Best Artist

for contributions in visual speculative storytelling

John Picacio

Nilah Magruder

Odera Igbokwe

Paul Lewin

Rovina Cai


Best Comics Team

for comics, graphic novels, and sequential storytelling

Cuisine Chinoise: Five Tales of Food and Life – Zao Dao, with Diana Schutz & Brandon Kandor (Dark Horse Comics)

Far Sector – N. K. Jemisin & Jamal Campbell (DC Comics)

Giga – Alex Paknadel & John Lê (Vault Comics)

Parable of the Sower – Written by Octavia Butler, adapted by Damian Duffy, illustrated by John Jennings (Abrams ComicArts)

You Brought Me the Ocean – Alex Sanchez & Jul Maroh (DC Comics)


Best Anthology/Collected Works

A Phoenix First Must Burn – ed. Patrice Caldwell (Viking Books for Young Readers)

Glitter + Ashes: Queer Tales of a World that Wouldn’t Die – editor, publisher dave ring (Neon Hemlock)

Love After the End: An Anthology of Two-Spirit and Indigiqueer Speculative Fiction – ed. Joshua Whitehead (Arsenal Pulp Press)

Nine Bar Blues – Sheree Renée Thomas (Third Man Books)

Vampires Never Get Old: Tales with a Fresh Bite – ed. Zoraida Cordova & Natalie C. Parker (Imprint)


Best in Creative Nonfiction

for works related to the field of speculative fiction

“The African Superhero and the Legacy of Captain Africa” – Suyi Davies Okungbowa (

“Fine Weather, Isn’t It?” – Tochi Onyebuchi (SFWA Bulletin #215)

“How to Make a Family: Queer Blood Bonds in Black Feminist Vampire Novels” – Tamara Jerée (Strange Horizons)

“I Have No Mouth, and I Must Scream: The Duty of the Black Writer During Times of American Unrest” – Tochi Onyebuchi (

“Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Excellence” – Nibedita Sen (Uncanny Magazine)


The Ember Award

for unsung contributions to genre

Clarion West

Dhonielle Clayton

K. Tempest Bradford

Michi Trota

Tananarive Due


The Community Award

for Outstanding Efforts in Service of Inclusion and Equitable Practice in Genre

Anathema Magazine: Spec from the Margins – Michael Matheson, Andrew Wilmot, Chinelo Onwualu

Beth Phelan

Diana M. Pho

#PublishingPaidMe – L.L. McKinney & Tochi Onyebuchi

Writing The Other: Online Classes and Workshops – Nisi Shawl + K Tempest Bradford



The short list is derived from 15 BIPOC+ voters made up of FIYAHCON staff and previous award winners, of varying genders, sexualities, cultures, disabilities, and locations throughout the world. They are referred to as the Ignyte Awards Committee. Committee members were not permitted to nominate their own works or works of which they were a part. The Committee was not limited to selections authored or otherwise created by BIPOC. Public voting on the shortlist does not permit write-in nominations. Each year, we ask one year’s winners to be part of the subsequent year’s committee to ensure fresh perspectives and to help prevent repeated nominations of the same popular authors as recognized in many other genre awards.

This year’s ceremony takes place on September 18th during FIYAHCON 2021 and will be hosted by Ashia Monet.

2021 Ignytes Host Ashia Monet

Ashia Monet is a speculative fiction author based in Philadelphia. Her work centers LGBTQ+ people of color and ranges from teenage magicians on epic road trips to 19th-century gothic horror characters hunting Dracula. Her young adult debut novel THE BLACK VEINS is available now. You can follow her on Twitter @ashiamonet and Instagram @ashiawrites.


Our trophy artist for 2021 is EDGE.

2021 Ignytes Trophy Artist EDGE

Ejiwa ‘Edge’ Ebenebe is a Nigerian-Canadian artist based in BC, Canada. Born outside of her parent’s homeland, she went on to experience multiple cultures throughout her childhood and early adulthood.

As an immigrant, she wrestles with concepts of community and identity, both within herself and her work, and strives to create representation for voices (particularly Black and/or LGBTQIA+ folks) who are often pushed out of positive, empowering narratives.

But also echoing in her work is a love for the ethereal, fantasy stories she grew up with. From a passion for vibrant colours, to a love of ornamentation, her varying homes have strongly moulded her creative perspective, weaving themselves throughout each piece she creates.

In combining all these influences she hopes to create work that is uplifting and whimsical, a respite from life’s rigors.

Over the course of her career so far she has worked with clients including Scholastic, Wizards of the Coast and Marvel. Her work has also featured in publications such as F(r)iction, Infected By Art and ImagineFX Magazine.


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