So I recently won the 2022 World Fantasy Award for Best Anthology, presented at the 2022 World Fantasy Convention that took place at the Hyatt Regency hotel, New Orleans.
The award was awarded for the first ever Year’s Best African Speculative Fiction anthology I edited and published with the small press I founded to do so, Jembefola Press.
I’ll be the first African born – Black writer, editor or publisher to win the award in its near five decade history.
You can see a video of my acceptance speech here
You can see my latest works, written, edited, fiction and non-fiction here
And the transcript of the acceptance speech here…
“I’ll try to say a few things, because it’s an opportunity being on this stage. And I try to utilize every opportunity I get.
I want to talk about the Year’s Best African Speculative Fiction and what it means. It’s a story, it’s a collation of stories by African writers. It’s also The story of The African writer, editor and publisher. The journey that it takes to come from the continent and create literary work that can be something that is represented on the global stage. It’s not an easy journey, to say the least. As a matter of fact, the first thing that came to mind when I stood here is that I’m not supposed to be here. And that’s not being pessimistic. It’s the reality.
Talking about the journey; having to battle publishing giants such as Amazon…
In the first place, publishing the anthology, I had to find an American who would publish it with me. Because publishing institutions do not cater to the continent. I couldn’t find one, so I had to publish it myself. And for daring to try that, Amazon kicked my book off their platform, and seized the funds I raised for no reason. Followed by Smashwords and Draft2digital doing exactly the same thing. As a matter of fact, they still hold hundreds of dollars of my money right now.
So we had to crowdfund to pay the writers. Then I had to crowdfund again to come for the WorldCon. After which I was denied a visa. Then we had to battle with the US embassy. Then I had to crowdfund again to come here. Then we had to deal with death threats from trolls. I even got a message from the “president of the KKK”. You know, detailing how gruesomely they would murder me if I dared showed up here. But I’m here anyway.
And that’s the point. I chose to be here. And everyone who contributed to my crowdfunding drive, everyone who voted for me, all the judges who chose me, and everyone who is seated in this hall today, chose along with me, for me to be here. Which means a very important thing. That when we stand together, we are stronger than the institutions, than the persons that decide that we should be divided. That decide that some of us are not enough.
So I would like to thank everyone who contributed to choosing with me, who contributed their money, their time, who contributed their stories, and everything else. And I want to ask that we continue to choose to allow everybody who deserves it, to be on this stage.
This award, this moment belongs to all of us who chose. Thank you.”
Ps: This speech is eligible for the 2023 Hugo award, best related work.