Nalo Hopkinson in 2007
20 December 1960 |
|Education||Master of Arts|
|Alma mater||Seton Hill University|
|Genres||Science fiction, fantasy|
|Notable work(s)||Brown Girl in the Ring
The Salt Roads
|Notable award(s)||Prix Aurora Award,
Gaylactic Spectrum Award,
John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer,
Sunburst Award for Canadian Literature of the Fantastic,
World Fantasy Award
Nalo Hopkinson (born 1960) is a Jamaican science fiction and fantasy writer and editor. She currently lives and teaches 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.
Early life, family, and education
Nalo Hopkinson was born December 20, 1960 in Kingston, Jamaica to Freda and Muhammed Abdur-Rahman Slade Hopkinson. She grew up in Guyana, Trinidad, and Canada. She was raised in a literary environment; her mother was a library technician and her father a Guyanese poet, playwright and actor who also taught English and Latin. By virtue of this upbringing, Hopkinson had access to writers like Derek Walcott during her formative years, and could read Kurt Vonnegut’s works by age six. Hopkinson’s writing is influenced by the fairy and folk tales she read at a young age, which included Afro-Caribbean stories like Anansi, as well as Western works like Gulliver’s Travels, the Iliad, the Odyssey; she was also known to have read the works of Shakespeare around the time she was reading Homer. Though she lived in Connecticut briefly during her father’s tenure at Yale University, Hopkinson once admitted that the culture shock from her move to Toronto from Guyana at age sixteen was something “to which [she’s] still not fully reconciled”. She lived in Toronto from 1977 to 2011 before moving to Riverside, California.
Hopkinson has stated that she has learning disabilities., but she has a Masters of Arts degree in Writing Popular Fiction from Seton Hill University, where she studied with her mentor and instructor, science fiction writer James Morrow.
Hopkinson held jobs in libraries, worked as a government culture research officer, and held the position of grants officer at the Toronto Arts Council. She has taught writing at various programs around the world, including stints as writer-in-residence at Clarion East, Clarion West and Clarion South. Publishing and writing was stopped for six years due to a serious illness that prevented her from working. Severe anemia, caused by fibroids as well as a vitamin D deficiency, led to financial difficulties and ultimately homelessness for two years prior to being hired by UC Riverside.
As an author, Hopkinson often uses themes of Caribbean folklore, Afro-Caribbean culture, and feminism. She is historically conscious and uses knowledge from growing up in Caribbean communities in her writing, including the use of Creole and character backgrounds from Caribbean countries including Trinidad and Jamaica. In addition, Hopkinson consistently writes about subjects including race, class, and sexuality. Through her work, particularly in Midnight Robber, Hopkinson addresses differences in cultures as well as social issues such as child and sexual abuse.
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.
Brown Girl in the Ring was nominated for the Philip K. Dick Award in 1998, and received the Locus Award for Best New Writer. In 2008 it was a finalist in Canada Reads, produced by the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation.
Skin Folk received the World Fantasy Award and the Sunburst Award for Canadian Literature of the Fantastic in 2003.
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.
Novels and anthologies
- Brown Girl in the Ring (1998)
- Midnight Robber (2000)
- Whispers from the Cotton Tree Root: Caribbean Fabulist Fiction (2000, ed.)
- Skin Folk (2001)
- Mojo: Conjure Stories (2003, ed.)
- The Salt Roads (2003)
- So Long Been Dreaming (2004, ed.)
- The New Moon's Arms (2007)
- The Chaos (2012)
- Sister Mine (2013)
Short fiction (first publications only)
- "Slow Cold Chick" in anthology Northern Frights 5 (1998)
- "A Habit of Waste" in anthology Women of Other Worlds: Excursions through Science Fiction and Feminism (1999)
- "Precious" in anthology Silver Birch, Blood Moon (1999)
- "The Glass Bottle Trick" in anthology Whispers From the Cotton Tree Root: Caribbean Fabulist Fiction (2000)
- "Greedy Choke Puppy" and "Ganger (Ball Lightning)" in anthology Dark Matter: A Century of Speculative Fiction From the African Diaspora
- "Midnight Robber" (excerpt from novel) reprinted in Young Bloods: Stories from Exile 1972-2001 (2001)
- "Delicious Monster" in anthology Queer Fear II (2002)
- "Shift" in journal Conjunctions: the New Wave Fabulists.
- "Herbal" in The Bakkanthology
- "Whose Upward Flight I Love" reprinted in African Voices
- "The Smile on the Face" in anthology Girls Who Bite Back: Witches, Mutants, Slayers and Freaks (2004)
- Hopkinson, Nalo. The Salt Roads. Warner Books. New York. 2003. ISBN 978-0446533027.
- "Nalo Hopkinson Biography". BookRags.com. Retrieved 2012-06-05.
- "Hopkinson, Nalo. The Encyclopedia of Science Fiction". SFE Ltd. accessdate=2013-11-23.
- Gaylaxicon 2006. "Additional Author Guest". Retrieved 22 March 2011.
- Liptak, Nick (8 January 2010). "Nalo Hopkinson’s Other World". The New Yorker. Retrieved 2012-06-05.
- John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer, Writertopia, retrieved 21 June 2011
- "James Tiptree, Jr. Award 2000 Short List". James Tiptree, Jr. Literary Award Council. Retrieved 5 June 2012.
- "2001 Hugo Awards". The Hugo Awards. 3 September 2001. Retrieved 2012-06-05.
- [dead link]
- "2008 Sunburst Award Winners". The Sunburst Award Society. 17 September 2008. Retrieved 2012-06-05.
- "Making the Impossible Possible: An Interview with Nalo Hopkinson" in Alondra Nelson, ed. Afrofuturism: A Special Issue of Social Text. Duke University Press. ISBN 0-8223-6545-6.
|Wikiquote has a collection of quotations related to: Nalo Hopkinson|
- "Nalo Hopkinson: As Magic Does" excerpt from Locus interview (2013)
- "Nalo Hopkinson's science fiction and real-life family" by Mindy Farabee at the L.A. Times (2013)
- Interview on SFFWorld.com
- Interview on Locus
- "Nalo Hopkinson uses SF to probe the inner and outer worlds of alienation" by David Soyka on SciFi.com (2001)
- A Conversation With Nalo Hopkinson on the SF Site