2021 was a year of many triumphs and attempts. Note, I say attempts, not failures because nothing is really a failure if you learn something from it. Instead, it becomes a process that brings you that much closer to your goal. With that fake-deep quote out of the way and you hopefully a little more convinced of my wisdom and that I’m not a total fraud, I’ll jump right into it.
O2 Arena – Novelette – This is my 8000 word climate fiction novelette published in the November issue, #53 of Galaxy’s Edge. It’s has been reprinted in Apex Magazine issue 129, in January 2022 and is free to read on Apex mag, here. While I say climate fiction, it touches on other issues like homophobia, misogyny, cultism, post & neo colonialism, disability, cancer, capitalism, and more. It’s free to read on the link there and eligible for the Nebula, Hugo, WFA, Locus, BSFA, Sturgeon and other short fiction awards.
Year’s Best African Speculative Fiction Volume One – This is the first ever Year’s Best African Speculative Fiction anthology. It made the Brittle Paper 50 Notable African Books of 2021 in collaboration with Mail & Guardian, and the Top 5 African Books of the Year by The Continent, also with Mail & Guardian. It’s been reviewed on Locus Magazine, LightSpeed Magazine by Arley Sorg, Runalong The Shelves, Black Gate Reviews by Brandon Crilly, Ginger Nuts of Horror, Nerds of a Feather by Adri Joy, British Fantasy Society website by Sarah Deeming and more. With it I’m eligible for the Hugo award, best editor, short form, and Locus award, best anthology in the Locus, World Fantasy, British Fantasy award, BSFA award, best artwork category, and more
Oghenechovwe Donald Ekpeki – This is a 700 word essay on the SFWA blog about the power, importance and value of African names. It’s eligible for the Hugo award, best related work, and for other essay and short non-fiction awards.
Best Fan Writer – I am also eligible for the Hugo award, best fan writer for my pieces published in semi pro zines this year. My SFWA blog essay Oghenechovwe Donald Ekpeki on African names and non-fiction piece in Journey Planet issue 58: Cancelled Too soon. It’s titled Nigerian Animated Works Inching Their Way to International TV.
WorldCon Discon3, The African Stream and 2021 Nommo award ceremony Organised by Oghenechovwe Donald Ekpeki and Nick Wood – The Discon 3 WorldCon was the first WorldCon to have an African stream, a substantial program stream devoted to speculative fiction by Africans. Virtual membership sponsored by the SFWA and the BSFA allowed 22 African creatives participate, in an attempt to circumvent issues of visa denial and travel cost that inhibited attendance of previous WorldCons by African creatives. The Nommo, the most prestigious pan African speculative fiction award was presented at the Discon3 as part of this event, by amazing Black and African writers Suyi Davies Okungbowa, Tochi Onyebuchi, Sheree Renée Thomas and Iquo DianaAbasi. You can see the bios of the other panelists here. The WorldCon Discon3 African Stream and Nommo award ceremony organized by Oghenechovwe Donald Ekpeki and Nick Wood is eligible for the Hugo award, best related work and other such awards.
Awards, I started the year with a win. January 1st, I was notified I had won the Horror Writers Association diversity grant for 2020. It’s actually a 2020 thing, since from the US timezone end it came at the twilight hours of 2020. But it was already 2021 here. They say take your wins where you find them right? So I take that as a 2021 win. Other wins followed after. See? The winner’s mindset does usher in more. So that’s the HWA Diversity Grant, I’d become the first African editor to win the British Fantasy award for best anthology, the Otherwise award, and the Nommo award for best Novella, the second time I’ll be winning it since 2019 for my short story The Witching Hour. I’d have won awards for my writing and editing now, and for writing, short story and novella. Which brings us to the third fiction length. Wait before that, my nominations.
Before the year ran out I’d be nominated for but not win The Nebula award for best novella, the Locus award for best anthology, the BSFA award for best short fiction, the Theodore Sturgeon award and the This Is Horror award for best anthology.
Fiction: This now brings us to other forms of literature. I sold a novelette earlier in the year. The climate fiction novelette of 8k words titled O2 Arena to Galaxy’s Edge. I also sold a short story to Asimov’s which is scheduled for release next year in May. It’s titled Destiny Delayed. My Galaxy’s Edge story O2 Arena came out in the November issue of the mag and is free to read here and I resold it as a reprint to Apex Mag, also scheduled for a 2022 release. Speaking of 2022 releases, my anthology with co-editors Zelda Knight and Sheree Renée Thomas, Africa Risen forthcoming on Tordotcom (Macmillan) will be out in 2022 as well.
Non-fiction. I didn’t only sell fiction though. I sold a piece to Journey Planet issue 58: Cancelled Too soon. It’s titled Nigerian Animated Works Inching Their Way to International TV. I also have an essay on the SFWA blog titled Oghenechovwe Donald Ekpeki. Yep, the title is a name, my own. And that’s also the topic, names. Specifically the power, value and importance of African names. There’s also my non-fiction thing on Locus Mag, Decolonising The Mind
Editing: Asides co-editing the Africa Risen anthology, I also started my own press, Jembefola Press and edited and published the first ever Year’s Best African Speculative Fiction anthology and the collections issue of Interstellar Flight Press. I had a non-fiction thing again at the Locus Magazine, an interview. I had another interview on the Hugo award winning Coode Street Podcast as well, with Jonathan Strahan and Gary Wolfe
Endings can be beginnings as well so at the tail end of 2021, December, I started writing two fiction books. That, while planning the WorldCon African Stream, Nommo award for 2021 and the half a dozen panels I would be in and half of which I would moderate. Also I was promoting the Year’s Best African Speculative Fiction anthology and organizing the Bridging Worlds non-fiction anthology for a rescheduled 2022 release. So, see you at the point where our worlds do bridge, and happy new year.