This year’s Arthur C. Clarke Award ceremony included the special announcement of a new literary honor: the Nommo Awards, highlighting the best in African sci-fi and speculative fiction. In the week since, the African Speculative Fiction Society has shared more information about the Nommo Awards, in advance of a formal announcement at the Ake Festival in Abeokuta, Nigeria this November.
The Nommo Awards recognize works of speculative fiction by Africans, defined as “science fiction, fantasy, stories of magic and traditional belief, alternative histories, horror and strange stuff that might not fit in anywhere else.”
Lauren Beukes, author of The Shining Girls and Zoo City, said on the ASFS site that “[t]he Nommos are long overdue—an African SF prize for Africans by Africans that honours our stories and how we choose to tell them.”
The award is open to authors and artists with African citizenship, who were born in Africa and live abroad, or who are children of an African parent. (Learn more about eligibility here.) Members of the ASFS will nominate works on the website; the nomination window will open after the announcement at the Ake Festival, which takes place November 15-19.
Here are the four prize categories:
- The Ilube Award for Best Speculative Fiction Novel by an African ($1,000)
- The Nommo Award for Best Speculative Fiction Novella by an African ($500)
- The Nommo Award for Best Speculative Fiction Short Story by an African ($500)
- The Nommo Award for Best Speculative Fiction Graphic Novel by Africans ($1,000 to be shared)
“Science fiction is important because it looks ahead to African futures,” said Tom Ilube, the ASFS benefactor who provided prize money for four years. “Fantasy and fiction based on traditional tales are important because they link us back to our forebears. Both are important for African development. I wanted to make sure that the explosion of African science fiction gets the recognition it deserves.”
The award gets its name from the image that makes up its logo: the Nommo, from Dogon cosmology, “twins who on land can take the form of fish walking on their tails.”
The inaugural Nommos will be awarded at the Ake Festival in Nigeria in November 2017. For subsequent years, the intent is to alternate the ceremony between locations in West and East Africa. Learn more on the ASFS website.
via Locus Online