N. K. Jemisin

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Nora K. Jemisin
A picture of N. K. Jemisin.
Born (1972-09-19) September 19, 1972 (age 45)
Iowa City, Iowa, United States
Pen name N. K. Jemisin
Occupation Novelist, psychologist, career counselor
Language English
Genre Science fiction, fantasy

Nora K. Jemisin (born September 19, 1972) is an American speculative fiction writer. Her fiction explores a wide variety of themes, including cultural conflict and oppression.[1] She has won several awards for her work, including the Locus and the Hugo awards.

In 2010, Jemisin's short story "Non-Zero Probabilities" was a finalist for the Hugo and Nebula Best Short Story Awards.[2] Her debut novel, The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms, was nominated for the 2010 Nebula Award, and short-listed for the James Tiptree Jr. Award.[3][4] In 2011, it was nominated for the Hugo Award, World Fantasy Award,[5] and Locus Award, winning the 2011 Locus Award for Best First Novel.[6] The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms also won the Sense of Gender Awards in 2011.

In 2016, Jemisin's novel The Fifth Season won the Hugo Award for Best Novel, making her the first African American writer to win a Hugo award in that category.[7] Its sequel, The Obelisk Gate, won the Hugo Award for Best Novel in 2017.[8]

Early life[edit]

Nora K. Jemisin was born in Iowa City, Iowa, and grew up in New York City and Mobile, Alabama. She lived in Massachusetts for ten years and then moved to New York City.[9] Jemisin attended Tulane University from 1990 to 1994, where she received a B.S. in psychology.[9] She went on to earn her Master of Education from the University of Maryland College Park.


A graduate of the 2002 Viable Paradise writing workshop,[10] Jemisin has published a number of short stories and completed several novels. Jemisin was a member of the Boston-area writing group BRAWLers,[11] and is a member of Altered Fluid, a speculative fiction critique group.[11]

She was a co-Guest of Honor of the 2014 WisCon science fiction convention in Madison, Wisconsin.[12] She was the Author Guest of Honor at Arisia 2015 in Boston, Massachusetts.[13]

During her delivery of the Guest of Honour speech at the 2013 Continuum in Australia, Jemisin pointed out that 10% of the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America (SFWA) membership voted for alt-right writer Theodore Beale (also known as Vox Day) in his bid for the SFWA presidential position. She went on to call Beale "a self-described misogynist, racist, anti-Semite, and a few other flavors of asshole"[14] and noted that silence about these issues was the same as enabling them. Beale responded by calling her an "educated but ignorant savage".[15] A link to his comments was tweeted on the SFWA Authors Twitter feed, and Beale was subsequently expelled from the organization.[16]

In January 2016, Jemisin started writing "Otherworldly", a bimonthly column for The New York Times.[17] In May 2016, Jemisin mounted a Patreon campaign which raised sufficient funding to allow her to quit her job as a counseling psychologist and focus full-time on her writing.[18] In the following year, Bustle called Jemisin "the sci-fi writer every woman needs to be reading".[19]

Personal life[edit]

Jemisin lives and works in Brooklyn, New York,[20] along with her cat King Ozymandias (Ozzy).

She is first cousin once removed to W. Kamau Bell.[21][22]



  • Romantic Times Reviewers' Choice Award, Best Fantasy Novel 2010 (The Broken Kingdoms)
  • Locus Award, Best First Novel 2011 (The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms)
  • Sense of Gender Award, 2011 (The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms)
  • Romantic Times Reviewers' Choice Award, Best Fantasy Novel 2012 (The Shadowed Sun)
  • Hugo Award, Best Novel 2016 (The Fifth Season)[18][23]
  • Hugo Award, Best Novel 2017 (The Obelisk Gate)[8]
  • Nebula Award, Best Novel 2018 (The Stone Sky)[24]
  • Locus Award, Best Fantasy 2018 (The Stone Sky)[25]


Partial bibliography[edit]


Inheritance trilogy[edit]

A novella entitled The Awakened Kingdom set in the Inheritance trilogy was released along with an omnibus of the trilogy on December 9, 2014.[29]

A triptych entitled Shades in Shadow was released on July 28, 2015. It contained three short stories, including a prequel to the trilogy.[30]

Dreamblood series[edit]

Broken Earth series[edit]

Short stories[edit]

  • "L'Alchimista", published in Scattered, Covered, Smothered, Two Cranes Press, 2004. Honorable Mention in The Year's Best Fantasy and Horror, 18th collection. Also available as an Escape Pod episode
  • "Too Many Yesterdays, Not Enough Tomorrows", Ideomancer, 2004.
  • "Cloud Dragon Skies", Strange Horizons, 2005. Also an Escape Pod episode
  • "Red Riding-Hood's Child", Fishnet, 2005.
  • "The You Train", Strange Horizons, 2007.
  • "Bittersweet", Abyss & Apex Magazine, 2007.
  • "The Narcomancer", Helix, reprinted in Transcriptase, 2007.
  • "The Brides of Heaven", Helix, reprinted in Transcriptase, 2007.
  • "Playing Nice With God's Bowling Ball", Baen's Universe, 2008.
  • "The Dancer's War", published in Like Twin Stars: Bisexual Erotic Stories, Circlet Press, 2009.
  • "Non-Zero Probabilities", Clarkesworld Magazine, 2009.
  • "Sinners, Saints, Dragons, and Haints in the City Beneath the Still Waters", Postscripts, 2010.
  • "On the Banks of the River Lex", Clarkesworld Magazine, 11/2010
  • "The Effluent Engine", published in Steam-Powered: Lesbian Steampunk Stories, Torquere Press, 2011
  • "The Trojan Girl", Weird Tales, 2011
  • "Valedictorian", published in After: Nineteen Stories of Apocalypse and Dystopia, Hyperion Book CH, 2012



  1. ^ "An Interview With N.K. Jemisin on The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms". Orbit Books. 
  2. ^ Jemisin, N. K. (September 2009). "Non-Zero Probabilities". Clarkesworld Magazine. No. 36. Retrieved August 16, 2017. 
  3. ^ "2010 Award Winners & Nominees". Worlds Without End. Retrieved August 16, 2017. 
  4. ^ "2010 James Tiptree, Jr. Award". James Tiptree, Jr. Literary Award. Retrieved August 16, 2017. 
  5. ^ "World Fantasy Nominees and Lifetime Achievement Winners". Locus Online News. July 28, 2011. 
  6. ^ "Locus Awards 2011 Winners". Locus Online. 
  7. ^ Alexander Alter, N. K. Jemisin on Diversity in Science Fiction and Inspiration From Dreams, from The New York Times, August 24, 2016
  8. ^ a b "2017 Hugo Awards". Retrieved August 11, 2017. 
  9. ^ a b "N.K. Jemisin: Rites of Passage". Locus Magazine. August 18, 2010. 
  10. ^ "N.K. Jemisin: Rites of Passage". Locus. August 18, 2010. Retrieved September 7, 2016. 
  11. ^ a b Jones, Jeremy L. C. "Even the Best Stories Have Flaws: Inside Altered Fluid". Clarkesworld Magazine. 
  12. ^ "Announcing WisCon 38's Guests of Honor: Hiromi Goto and N.K. Jemisin" A Momentary Taste of WisCon 37 (Elizabeth Stone, ed.) Issue #4 (May 26, 2013), p. 2.
  13. ^ "Guest of Honor Bios". Arisia 2015. 
  14. ^ "Controversies Inside the World of Science Fiction and Fantasy". Retrieved September 8, 2016. 
  15. ^ El-Mohtar, Amal (June 13, 2013). "Calling for the Expulsion of Theodore Beale from SFWA". Retrieved January 14, 2016. 
  16. ^ "SFWA Board Votes to Expel Beale". Locus. August 14, 2013. 
  17. ^ Zutter, Natalie (January 4, 2016). "N.K. Jemisin Launches SFF Column at The New York Times Book Review". Tor.com. Retrieved August 13, 2017. 
  18. ^ a b c Kehe, Jason (June 7, 2016). "WIRED Book Club: Fantasy Writer N.K. Jemisin on the Weird Dreams That Fuel Her Stories". Wired. Retrieved September 7, 2016. 
  19. ^ Wilson, Kristian (January 10, 2017). "The Sci-Fi Writer Every Woman Needs To Be Reading Has 3 New Books Coming". Bustle. Retrieved August 12, 2017. 
  20. ^ Payne, Marshall (June 28, 2011). "Nebula Awards 2010 Interview: N.K. Jemisin". SFWA. Retrieved January 14, 2016. 
  21. ^ Bell, W. Kamau. The Awkward Thoughts of W. Kamau Bell. New York, NY: Dutton, 2017, pp. 24, 28. ISBN 978-1-101-98587-8.
  22. ^ Schaub, Michael (August 22, 2016). "Women and writers of color win big at Hugo Awards and the Puppies are even sadder". Los Angeles Times. 
  23. ^ "2016 Hugo Awards". The Hugo Awards. Retrieved October 13, 2016. 
  24. ^ "Nebula Awards 2018". Science Fiction Awards Database. Locus. Archived from the original on 2018-05-21. Retrieved 2018-05-20. 
  25. ^ "Announcing the 2018 Locus Awards Winners". Locus. Retrieved 2018-06-25. 
  26. ^ "William L. Crawford – IAFA Fantasy Award 2011". Retrieved September 7, 2016. 
  27. ^ "SFWA Announces 2016 Nebula, Norton, and Bradbury Award Nominees!". The Nebula Awards. February 20, 2017. Retrieved March 6, 2017. 
  28. ^ "The Inheritance Trilogy". Nkjemisin.com. 
  29. ^ "So, about that Seekrit Project I've been working on…". Nkjemisin.com. April 30, 2014. 
  30. ^ "Now it can be told!". Nkjemisin.com. June 25, 2015. 
  31. ^ Das, Indrapramit (May 2, 2012). "In Dreams: N.K. Jemisin's The Killing Moon". Slant Magazine. Archived from the original on May 16, 2012. Retrieved October 8, 2012. 
  32. ^ Jemisin, N. K.; Valentine, Genevieve; San Juan, Eric; Hasan, Zaki (2011). Segal, Stephen H., ed. Geek Wisdom: The Sacred Teachings of Nerd Culture. Quirk Books. ISBN 9781594745270. 

External links[edit]