Author S. B. Divya announced today in social media why she declined a 2023 Hugo nomination for the novelette “Two Hands, Wrapped in Gold” and removed her name from the list of Hugo-nominated semiprozine Escape Pod’s team members.
I was really excited to receive notice of a Hugo Award nomination back in 2018 – my first! I got the email at the office, and I had to step outside so that my co-editor, Mur Lafferty, and I could properly squee over the news that Escape Pod was a finalist for Best Semiprozine.
A few weeks ago, I was very surprised to receive another such email – that my story, “Two Hands, Wrapped in Gold,” had been nominated for a Hugo Award for Best Novelette. In addition, Escape Pod was nominated again for Best Semiprozine. As is customary, the awards team asked if I wished to accept the nominations or withdraw from consideration. Unfortunately, I’ve decided to choose the latter option.
Along with many other writers, I signed a petition last year against hosting the 2023 World Science Fiction Convention (AKA “WorldCon”) in Chengdu, China. The reason was to protest the Chinese government’s treatment of the Uyghur people in Xinjiang province. I believe that mass human rights violations and possible genocide have occurred in the region.
Given that China is primarily a state-run nation, no event of a magnitude like WorldCon’s will be free of government involvement. To compound this, one of this year’s Guests of Honor is Sergei Lukyanenko, an apologist for Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, another act of aggression that I cannot support. I hold no ill will toward Chinese fandom, writers, or artists, and I know that many of them are working under repressive conditions, however I cannot in good conscience participate in this year’s WorldCon.
For these reasons, I chose to withdraw my novelette from consideration for the Hugo Award. I also asked the Escape Pod team to remove my name from the list of editors on the ballot. Non-participation in WorldCon includes staying out of the awards ceremony. I deeply regret having to take this action, and I have tremendous gratitude for everyone who loved “Two Hands, Wrapped in Gold,” and chose to nominate it for this great honor. Thank you from the bottom of my heart.