The Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers Association (SFWA) invites speculative fiction fans and creators to the 58th Annual Nebula Awards® Ceremony. The ceremony will stream live on Sunday, May 14, at 8:00 p.m. Pacific from Anaheim, CA.
Cheryl Platz will act as Toastmaster for the ceremony. Award presenters will join in-person and virtually from across the galaxy, including past Nebula Award winners, SFWA Board members, and other notable members of the science fiction and fantasy (SFF) industry: Jeffe Kennedy, Matthew Mercer, Gay Haldeman, Chinaka Hodge, Christine Taylor-Butler, Mur Lafferty, Michael Capobianco, Aydrea Walden, José Pablo Iriarte, and Leigh Bardugo. The ceremony will conclude with a surprise presenter for the Nebula Award for Best Novel.
The 58th Nebula Awards Ceremony takes place as part of the 2023 Nebula Conference, the premier professional development conference for aspiring and established members of the SFF industries. Its schedule of 50+ programming topics can be viewed here. Content is geared toward creators working in games, comics, prose, poetry, and other mediums of storytelling. Registrations for in-person or virtual attendance are available here, and they also include a year of access to the panel archive, opportunities to network throughout the year, and a standing invitation to SFWA’s Weekly Writing Dates, Romancing SFF, Connecting Flights, and Narrative Worlds programming.
After the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers Association (SFWA) made Octavia E. Butler its inaugural Infinity Award honoree last week, people began to offer ideas about who should be selected next. However, they also expressed a desire for a clearer understanding of who is eligible.
File 770 contacted Rebecca Gomez Farrell, SFWA Communications Director, to ask if the organization had an official statement or set of rules to govern the Infinity Award? She answered:
The official Board vote creating the Infinity Award is a simpler version of what is in the press release: “Be it moved that the Infinity Award be created to present to someone SFWA would have considered for Grandmaster Award but no longer qualifies because they have passed on.”
Although more may be added in the future, there are no additional qualifications at this time.
I hope that aids the future speculation.
If the opportunity window for the Infinity Award depends on someone’s career overlapping the existence of the SFWA Grand Master award, then it is relevant that the award’s first recipient Robert A. Heinlein was selected in 1974.
The Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers Association (SFWA) have announced the creation of the Infinity Award, with its inaugural presentation honoring the works and career of Octavia E. Butler(1947–2006) at the 58th Annual Nebula Awards® Ceremony on May 14.
The SFWA Board voted to create the Infinity Award to posthumously honor acclaimed creators who passed away before they could be considered for a Damon Knight Memorial Grand Master Award. This new award aims to recognize that even though those celebrated worldbuilders, storytellers, and weavers of words are no longer with us, their legacies will continue to inspire.
Upon its creation, it was also unanimously agreed that Octavia E. Butler would be our first recipient. Beginning with her perseverance in the face of the prejudice she encountered early on in her career, including claims that African American writers – especially African American women writers – could not write science fiction, Butler ultimately went on to earn a MacArthur Grant and a PEN West Lifetime Achievement Award. Butler did more than prove such naysayers wrong. Her works offered prescient critiques of societal issues and visions of what might be possible in different and future worlds. They are now being taught in over 200 colleges and universities nationwide.
SFWA President Jeffe Kennedy remarked, “Establishing this new award is very important to me. Over the years, so many creators have been passed over for the Grand Master nod, for one reason or another. Some died tragically early. Others were not recognized for their work during their lifetimes because of cultural prejudices and blind spots. Others were simply ahead of their time. When we look back at the nearly sixty years of SFWA celebrating SFF creators, there are some who stand out as ones we deeply wish had been given our highest awards. Being able to recognize Octavia E. Butler as our first recipient of the Infinity Award is an inspiring and gratifying first step toward correcting past omissions.”
Butler wrote sixteen novels and novellas, multiple collections and chapbooks, and many published essays. Her award-winning work during her lifetime includes “Bloodchild,” “The Evening and the Morning and the Night,” and Parable of the Talents. After her death, the #1 New York Times best-selling graphic novel adaptation of her book Kindred, created by Damian Duffy and John Jennings, received the Eisner Award for Best Adaptation.
In addition to the recent FX production of Kindred, projects in development and pre-production based on Butler’s work include Parable of the Sower with Peter Chernin, Garrett Bradley and A24 Films; Fledgling with Issa Rae and JJ Abrams; Wild Seed with Viola Davis and JuVee Productions; and BloodChild with Natalie Portman and Ari Aster.
Jules Jackson, directing manager of the Octavia E. Butler Estate, shared the following remarks: “For those who have chosen to pay attention, there is one thing that has become clear and apparent…. Octavia Estelle Butler, the mother of Afrofuturism, has literally written herself into history. And now the Estate is tasked with the honor of archiving, diagramming, and extending the reach of Octavia Estelle Butler’s cherished body of work. Octavia taught her readers to imagine relentlessly, our collective figures…Octavia painted the ‘least respected of us’ into the center of every narrative, re-framing a genre…I am beyond excited to accept this inaugural Science Fiction & Fantasy Writers Association award, for and on behalf of Octavia Butler, The Octavia E. Butler Estate, and all of the incredible storytellers who are, and continue to be inspired and those who follow in Octavia Estelle Butler’s prescient wake.”
Jackson will receive the award on Butler’s behalf at the Nebula Awards Ceremony. The award will be presented by Chinaka Hodge, writer and showrunner of the upcoming Wild Seeds television series.
Rather than a physical award, SFWA will make a donation to a cause that an Infinity Award honoree supported or that their loved ones’ request. For this first award, and in future years when a specific charity is not requested, that donation will go to the Octavia E. Butler Scholarship to the Clarion West workshop, which is administered by the Carl Brandon Society.
[Based on a press release.]
Update 05/06/2023: The SFWA press release has been corrected with current information on the media projects based on Octavia E. Butler’s work that are in development and pre-production. It names Jules Jackson, the directing manager of the Butler estate, as an executive director on those projects. The paragraph on those productions in SFWA’s release dated April 27, 2023, contained out-of-date information.