Today is somewhat popularly known as Juneteenth. For me, it wasn’t even a holiday I knew existed until I moved to the city. Which is kind of odd, because it’s been around for quite long time now. Juneteenth is the oldest known celebration commemorating the ending of slavery in the United States (from Juneteenth.com)
So, for Juneteenth, we’re going to take a brief look at African American Science Fiction and Horror Authors. I’ll state from the outset that this isn’t a comprehensive list. I didn’t spend nearly as much time digging for authors as I could have. I chose to list 15 total, splitting it among those who seemed to write primarily science fiction, primarily horror, and those that crossed genres. However even though it’s not comprehensive or extensive, I think this is a pretty good starting point for anyone who wants to explore African American Science Fiction and Horror Writers’ works.
Some of these writers are known also for their afrofuturistic work in general.
Afrofuturism is a cultural aesthetic, philosophy of science, and philosophy of history that combines elements of science fiction, historical fiction, fantasy, Afrocentrism, and magic realism with non-Western cosmologies in order to critique not only the present-day dilemmas of black people, but also to revise, interrogate, and re-examine the historical events of the past. – Wikipedia
I’ve linked their names to their websites when possible, Goodreads page when not. I’ve also listed the most well-known work I could find, when possible, for each author. (Some may not always be possible because they contributed primarily to anthologies.)
African American Science Fiction Writers
- Samuel R. Delany – 4 Nebulas, 2 Hugos
- Nisi Shawl – James Tiptree Jr Award
- Bill Campbell
- Nnedi Okorafor – Hugo, World Fantasy Award, Nebula Novella, Wole Soyinka Prize for Literature in Africa, Carl Brandon Parallax Award, Macmillian Writer’s Prize for Africa
- Andrea Hairston – James Tiptree Jr Award, Carl Brandon Parallax Award
African American Science Fiction and Horror Writers
- Chesya Burke – Twilight Tales Award for Short Fiction
- Tananarive Due – American Book Award, NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Literature, Carl Brandon Kindred Award
- Tenea D. Johnson – Carl Brandon Parallax Award
- Octavia Butler – MacArthur Fellowship, 2 Nebulas, 2 Hugos
- Linda Addison– First African American winner of the Bram Stoker Award (has won 4 times).
- Nalo Hopkinson – John W. Cambell Award, Locus Award, Sunburst Award x2, World Fantasy Award, Gaylactic Spectrum Award *
African American Horror Writers
- Jemiah Jefferson
- Helen Oyeyemi – Somerset Maugham Award, PEN Open Book Award
- Dia Reeves
- Michael Boatman
- Brandon Massey– Gold Pen Award
*Okay, so it was actually 16, not 15. But when I was trying to whittle the middle list down to just five, I realized I couldn’t do it! I needed to include every one of them!
A few of these names I was familiar with (some only passingly so), most I was not, though.
How many names on this list have you read? How many were you familiar with even if you haven’t read them?