The Otherwise Award (originally called the Tiptree Award) has selected two new Fellows: drag performer Devonix and writer/sound-and-media artist Martha Riva Palacio Obón. The Fellowships awarded to these artists will support projects that expand the boundaries and possibilities of the speculative, playing joyously with the traditional sense of el género (which, in Spanish, means genre and gender at the same time) across a range of mediums.
Devonix’s contributions to the New Orleans drag scene challenge how we currently understand and access speculative fiction. In a fusion of genre and drag, Devonix encourages audiences to critique our dystopian reality and imagine other possibilities. Devonix’s drag king performances are fiercely intelligent, provocative, and playful. By transforming into a robot overlord, a flesh-eating monster, a vampire and other entities familiar to speculative fiction readers, Devonix deconstructs and rearranges the audience’s understanding of gender in speculative fiction.
Martha Riva Palacio Obón creates hybrid projects through words and sound. Her current project seeks to bring her fascination with outer space into inner space. Human and non-human memories, her grandmother’s voice and the chirping of crickets, her own body and voice — all these meld into a fascinating exploration of the space a body occupies. Obón erases the line we constantly draw between us and them: our bodies and planet Earth, our consciousness and an expanding galaxy, our sense of self and every single being surrounding us.
In addition to choosing two Fellows, the Fellowship Committee announced an honors list of “writers and artists are all doing exciting work in gender and speculative fiction,” which includes Marina Berlin, M.L. Krishnan, Kailee Pedersen, and Aigner Loren Wilson.
The Otherwise Award celebrates works of speculative fiction that imagine new futures by exploring and expanding our understanding of gender roles. Through the Fellowship Program, the Award also encourages those who are striving to complete works, to imagine futures that might have been unimaginable when the Award began. Now in its fifth year, the Fellowship Program seeks out new voices in the field, particularly from communities that have been historically underrepresented in science fiction and fantasy and by those who work in media other than traditional fiction.
Each Fellow will receive $500. The work produced as a result of this support will be recognized and promoted by the Otherwise Award. Over time, the Fellowship program will create a network of Fellows who can build connections, provide mutual support, and find opportunities for collaboration.
The members of the 2019 selection committee for the Otherwise Fellowships were 2018 Fellows Vida Cruz and Ana Hurtado, 2018 Award winner Gabriela Damián Miravete, and Fellowship Committee chair Rox Samer. For more on the work of the latest Otherwise Fellows (and on the work of past Fellows), visit the Otherwise Award website at otherwiseaward.org.
[Based on a press release.]