R.F. Kuang’s The Poppy War has won the 2019 Compton Crook Award for Best Debut Novel presented by the Baltimore Science Fiction Society.
Members of BSFS chose The Poppy War by reading and rating debut novels published between Nov 1, 2017 and October 31, 2018. First, members selected six finalists and then gave The Poppy War their highest rating. The other finalists were:
• S.A. Chakraborty – The City of Brass
• Rebecca Roanhorse – Trail of Lightning
• Rena Rossner – Sisters of the Winter Wood
• Lauren Teffeau – Implanted
• Nick Clark Windo – The Feed
BSFS will award R. F. Kuang with a check for $1,000 and an invitation to be the Compton Crook Guest at Balticon (the BSFS annual convention) for two years. This year Balticon will be held May 24-27, 2019 at the Renaissance Baltimore Harborplace Hotel. Baltimore, Maryland.
BSFS has presented the Compton Crook Award for best first novel in the science fiction, fantasy, and horror genres since 1983. Past winners have included Donald Kingsbury, Elizabeth Moon, Michael Flynn, Wen Spencer, Maria Snyder, Naomi Novik, Paolo Bacigalupi, Myke Cole, Charles Gannon, and Ada Palmer. Last year’s winner was Nicky Drayden for Prey of Gods.
Kuang may be the youngest winner of the award. She started writing The Poppy War while still a student at Georgetown University and was only 22 when Harper Voyager published it. The sequel, The Dragon Republic, will be published this summer.
BSFS named the Compton Crook Award in memory of Towson State College Professor of Natural Sciences Compton Crook, who wrote under the name Stephen Tall, after his death in 1981. Professor Crook, an active member of BSFS, was a staunch champion of new works in the speculative genres.
BSFS is a 501(c)(3), non-profit, charitable, literary and educational organization, dedicated to the promotion of, and an appreciation for, science fiction in all of its many forms. BSFS was launched on January 5, 1963 and has been holding its convention, Balticon, since 1967.