Zen Cho Wins the Bradbury Prize for Spirits Abroad

The 42nd annual Los Angeles Times Book Prizes were awarded this past weekend, including the Ray Bradbury Prize for Science Fiction, Fantasy & Speculative Fiction—which went to Spirits Abroad, Zen Cho’s collection, which was published by Small Beer Press!

This year’s jurors were Gwenda Bond, Megan Giddings, and Veronica Roth, who chose the winner from a stacked list of finalists:

  • WINNER: Spirits Abroad by Zen Cho (Small Beer Press)
  • Light From Uncommon Stars by Ryka Aoki (Tor)
  • The Dangers of Smoking in Bed by Mariana Enriquez (Hogarth)
  • The World Gives Way by Marissa Levien (Redhook)
  • Sorrowland by Rivers Solomon (MCD)

Spirits Abroad is an expanded version of Cho’s first collection, with twelve additional stories. In Book Marks’ list of the most anticipated SFF books of 2021, Leah Schnelbach said, “Cho writes stories that slide easily between genres, and characters who hop nimbly between our world of banal bustle and a supernatural world that often seems just as annoying.”

The publisher describes it like this:

Nineteen sparkling stories that weave between the lands of the living and the lands of the dead. Spirits Abroad is an expanded edition of Zen Cho’s Crawford Award winning debut collection with twelve added stories including Hugo Award winner “If at First You Don’t Succeed, Try, Try Again.” A Datin recalls her romance with an orang bunian. A teenage pontianak struggles to balance homework, bossy aunties, first love, and eating people. An earth spirit gets entangled in protracted negotiations with an annoying landlord, and Chang E spins off into outer space, the ultimate metaphor for the Chinese diaspora.

Congratulations to Cho and all the finalists!


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