Today, I’m participating in the Norton Award Blog Tour to help raise awareness of this award.
The Andre Norton Award, named for pioneering SFF writer Andre Norton, is an award given to a children’s novel of speculative fiction by the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America at their annual Nebula Awards Weekend. I highly recommend reading the other stops on the tour (link at SFWA site, above) for beautiful posts on Norton’s work and influence, the creation of the award in 2005, the award process, and people recommendations for this year.
This year was my first trip to the Nebula Awards Weekend, but it certainly won’t be my last. I’m a relatively new member of SFWA (joined in 2010), but right now, it’s the most valuable professional organization I belong to. The Nebula Awards weekend gave me the opportunity to learn so much about the genre I write in, and to meet and interact with marvelous writers I may never otherwise have met.
Here I am at the 2012 Nebula Awards. From Left: Norton Award Nominee R.J. Anderson (Ultraviolet), awesome writer and multiple award winner Ellen Kushner, Nebula Award Nominee (and like, a billion other awards) E. Lily Yu, me, and Norton Award Nominee Franny Billingsley (Chime). Not pictured: the sixth member of what we might as well call the 2012 Nebula Awards singing group: Delia Sherman, who actually did win the Norton that night for her gorgeous novel, The Freedom Maze.
I don’t know if the other writers I spent the weekend with had the same experience at the awards weekend as I did (actually, I think Ms. Yu, a college student whose debut story was up for awards, was in the midst of sorta having her mind blown), and maybe it was just timing, as it was one of the first professional events I’d attended since my maternity leave, but attending these awards and listening to these writers talk about their work, the genre in general, and Andre Norton (author Alethea Kontis gave a teary tribute to her former mentor while introducing the award), was truly a watershed moment in my career.
I was reminded, at the awards, of how diverse and exciting the current field is for young people’s speculative fiction, and as I went home and dedicated the next week to reading the Norton nominees I’d missed out on (my only nominee that had made it to the final slate was Laini Taylor’s excellent The Daughter of Smoke and Bone), I was impressed all over again. Last year’s Norton slate was filled with big, difficult questions in book form; the novels explored identity, evil, history, race, destiny, love, war, and family; they utilized complex narrative techniques and innovative storytelling and meticulous research. These books are about young people, and published for young readers, but they’re universal in appeal.
As another pioneering writer of speculative fiction for young people, Madeline L’Engle, once said: “You have to write the book that wants to be written. And if the book will be too difficult for grown-ups, then you write it for children.”
The Norton Award is important for science fiction and fantasy, not only because of what it says about children’s SFF, but for what it says about the genre as a whole.
For more information about the Nebulas, the Andre Norton Award, or SFWA in general, please visit sfwa.org.
This year, I have a Norton-eligible book called For Darkness Shows the Stars. It’s a post-apocalyptic story inspired by Jane Austen’s Persuasion, and received a starred review from School Library Journal, as well as being named one of the best YA books of the year by Amazon and The Atlantic.
I also have several works eligible for this year’s Nebula Awards:
Short Story (<7,500 words):
- “The Hammer of Artemis” in CAST OF CHARACTERS (Fiction Studio)
- “Stray Magic” in UNDER MY HAT: TALES FROM THE CAULDRON (Random House)
Novelette (>7,500 words):
- “Foundlings” in BRAVE NEW LOVE (Running Press)