On this day in history, December 20, 1960, Nalo Hopkinson, a Jamaican-born Canadian speculative fiction writer and editor, was born. Currently living and teaching in Riverside, California, Her novels Brown Girl in the Ring, Midnight Robber, The Salt Roads, The New Moon’s Arms and short stories such as those in her collection Skin Folk often draw on Caribbean history and language, and its traditions of oral and written storytelling.
Hopkinson has edited two fiction anthologies, Whispers From the Cotton Tree Root: Caribbean Fabulist Fiction and Mojo: Conjure Stories. She was the co-editor with Uppinder Mehan for the anthology So Long Been Dreaming: Postcolonial Visions of the Future, and with Geoff Ryman for Tesseracts 9.
Hopkinson defended George Elliott Clarke’s novel Whylah Falls on the CBC’s Canada Reads 2002. She was the curator of Six Impossible Things, an audio series of Canadian fantastical fiction on CBC Radio One.
Hopkinson has been a key speaker and guest of honor at multiple science fiction conventions. She is one of the founding members of the Carl Brandon Society and serves on the board.
Hopkinson’s favorite writers include Samuel R. Delany, Tobias S. Buckell, and Charles Saunders. In addition, inspiration for her novels often comes from songs or poems with Christina Rossetti’s poem “Goblin Market” serving as the inspiration for Sister Mine. Personal hobbies include sewing, cooking, gardening, and fabric design. Hopkinson designs fabrics based on historical photos and illustrations.
Hopkinson was the recipient of the 1999 John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer and the Ontario Arts Council Foundation Award for Emerging Writers.
Brown Girl in the Ring was nominated for the Philip K. Dick Award in 1998, and received the Locus Award for Best First Novel. In 2008 it was a finalist in Canada Reads, produced by the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation.
Midnight Robber was shortlisted for the James R. Tiptree Jr. Memorial Award in 2000 and nominated for the Hugo Award for Best Novel in 2001. Skin Folk received the World Fantasy Award and the Sunburst Award for Canadian Literature of the Fantastic in 2003. The Salt Roads received the Gaylactic Spectrum Award for positive exploration of queer issues in speculative fiction for 2004, presented at the 2005 Gaylaxicon.
In 2008, The New Moon’s Arms received the Prix Aurora Award, Canada’s reader-voted award for science fiction and fantasy, and the Sunburst Award for Canadian Literature of the Fantastic, making her the first author to receive the Sunburst Award twice. This book was also nominated for the 2007 Nebula Award for Best Novel.