N. K. Jemisin

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N. K. Jemisin
A photograph of N. K. Jemisin.
BornNora Keita Jemisin
(1972-09-19) September 19, 1972 (age 48)
Iowa City, Iowa, U.S.
  • Novelist
  • psychologist
  • career counselor
Alma materTulane University (B.S.)
University of Maryland College Park (M.Ed.)

Nora Keita Jemisin[1] (born September 19, 1972) is an American science fiction and fantasy writer, better known by her pen name N. K. Jemisin. She has also worked as a counseling psychologist. Her fiction includes a wide range of themes, notably cultural conflict and oppression.[2][3] She has won several awards for her work, including the Locus Award. The three books of her Broken Earth series made her the first author to win the Hugo Award for Best Novel in three consecutive years or for all three novels in a trilogy.[4]

In 2009 and 2010, Jemisin's short story "Non-Zero Probabilities" was a finalist for the Nebula and Hugo Best Short Story Awards.[5] Her debut novel, The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms, the first volume in her Inheritance Trilogy, was nominated for the 2010 Nebula Award, and short-listed for the James Tiptree Jr. Award.[6][7] In 2011, it was nominated for the Hugo Award, World Fantasy Award,[8] and Locus Award, winning the 2011 Locus Award for Best First Novel.[9] The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms also won the Sense of Gender Awards in 2011. It was followed by two further novels in the same trilogy – The Broken Kingdoms in 2010 and The Kingdom of Gods 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.[10] Its sequels, The Obelisk Gate and The Stone Sky, won the Hugo Award for Best Novel in 2017[11] and 2018,[12] respectively.

In October 2020, Jemisin was announced as a recipient of the MacArthur Fellows Program Genius Grant.[13]

Early life[edit]

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. Jemisin attended Tulane University from 1990 to 1994, where she received a B.S. in psychology. She went on to study counseling and earn her Master of Education from the University of Maryland.[14]


A graduate of the 2002 Viable Paradise writing workshop,[15] Jemisin has published short stories and novels. Jemisin was a member of the Boston-area writing group BRAWLers,[16] and is a member of Altered Fluid, a speculative fiction critique group.[16]

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"[17] and noted that silence about these issues was the same as enabling them. Beale responded by calling her an "educated but ignorant savage".[18] A link to his comments was tweeted on the SFWA Authors Twitter feed, and Beale was subsequently expelled from the organization.[19]

Jemisin was a co-Guest of Honor of the 2014 WisCon science fiction convention in Madison, Wisconsin.[20] At that time, GQ described her as having "a day job as a counseling psychologist."[21] She was the Author Guest of Honor at Arisia 2015 in Boston, Massachusetts.[22]

In January 2016, Jemisin started writing "Otherworldly", a bimonthly column for The New York Times.[23] 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.[24] In the following year, Bustle called Jemisin "the sci-fi writer every woman needs to be reading".[25]

Personal life[edit]

Jemisin lives and works in Brooklyn, New York.[26]

She is first cousin once removed to stand-up comic and television host W. Kamau Bell.[27][28]




Partial bibliography[edit]


Inheritance Trilogy[edit]

A novella entitled The Awakened Kingdom set as a sequel to the Inheritance Trilogy was released along with an omnibus of the trilogy on December 9, 2014.[37]

A triptych entitled Shades in Shadow was released on July 28, 2015. It contained three short stories, including a prequel to the trilogy.[38]

Dreamblood Duology[edit]

Broken Earth series[edit]

Great Cities Series[edit]

The short story The City Born Great, released in 2016, is the precursor to the series.

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.[41]
  • "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.
  • "Walking Awake", Lightspeed, 2014.
  • "Stone Hunger", Clarkesworld Magazine, 2014.
  • "Sunshine Ninety-Nine", Popular Science, 2015.
  • "The City Born Great", published as a Tor.com exclusive available for free online,[42] 2016.
  • "Red Dirt Witch", Fantasy Magazine: PoC Destroy Fantasy, 2016.
  • "The Evaluators", Wired Magazine, 2016.
  • "Henosis", Uncanny Magazine, 2017.
  • "Give Me Cornbread or Give Me Death", A People's Future of the United States, 2017.
  • "The Storyteller's Replacement", How Long til Black Future Month, 2018.
  • "The Elevator Dancer", How Long til Black Future Month, 2018.
  • "Cuisine des Mémoires", How Long til Black Future Month, 2018.
  • "Emergency Skin", Amazon Original Stories:Forward, 2019. Winner of Hugo Award for best novelette.[33]
  • "The Ones Who Stay and Fight", Lightspeed Magazine, 2020.

Short story collections[edit]



  • Far Sector #1-Ongoing (with Jamal Campbell, DC Comics, 2019)


  1. ^ Shapiro, Lila (November 29, 2018). "For Reigning Fantasy Queen N.K. Jemisin, There's No Escape From Reality". Vulture. Retrieved October 7, 2020.
  2. ^ "N.K. Jemisin on THE HUNDRED THOUSAND KINGDOMS". Orbit Blog (Blog). Orbit Books. August 22, 2012. Retrieved August 28, 2018.
  3. ^ Novik, Naomi (August 12, 2015). "Book Review: 'The Fifth Season,' by N. K. Jemisin". The New York Times. Retrieved August 31, 2018.
  4. ^ El-Mohtar, Amal (March 24, 2020). "When a Sinister Enemy Attacks New York, the City Fights Back". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved May 22, 2020.
  5. ^ Jemisin, N. K. (September 2009). "Non-Zero Probabilities". Clarkesworld Magazine. No. 36. Retrieved August 16, 2017.
  6. ^ "2010 Award Winners & Nominees". Worlds Without End. Tres Barbas, LLC. Retrieved August 28, 2018.
  7. ^ "2010 James Tiptree, Jr. Award". James Tiptree, Jr. Literary Award. James Tiptree Jr. Literary Council. March 21, 2011. Retrieved August 28, 2018.
  8. ^ "World Fantasy Nominees and Lifetime Achievement Winners". Locus. July 28, 2011.
  9. ^ "Locus Awards 2011 Winners". Locus. June 25, 2011.
  10. ^ Alter, Alexander (August 24, 2016), "N. K. Jemisin on Diversity in Science Fiction and Inspiration From Dreams", The New York Times.
  11. ^ a b "2017 Hugo Awards". Retrieved August 11, 2017.
  12. ^ a b "2018 Hugo Awards". August 19, 2018.
  13. ^ "N. K. Jemisin". MacArthur Foundation. October 6, 2020.
  14. ^ "N.K. Jemisin: Rites of Passage". Locus. August 18, 2010. She studied psychology at Tulane in New Orleans, and went to grad school to study counseling at the University of Maryland-College Park.
  15. ^ "N.K. Jemisin: Rites of Passage". Locus. August 18, 2010. Retrieved September 7, 2016.
  16. ^ a b Jones, Jeremy L. C. (August 2010). "Even the Best Stories Have Flaws: Inside Altered Fluid". Clarkesworld Magazine.
  17. ^ Khanna, Rajan (November 26, 2013). "Controversies Inside the World of Science Fiction and Fantasy". Retrieved September 8, 2016.
  18. ^ El-Mohtar, Amal (June 13, 2013). "Calling for the Expulsion of Theodore Beale from SFWA". Retrieved January 14, 2016.
  19. ^ "SFWA Board Votes to Expel Beale". Locus. August 14, 2013.
  20. ^ "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.
  21. ^ Rivera, Joshua. "N.K. Jemisin Is Trying to Keep the World From Ending". GQ. Retrieved March 27, 2020. But there were those in the speculative fiction community who still didn’t want her, or anyone like her—a black woman born in Iowa City and raised between Mobile, Alabama and Brooklyn, New York with a day job as a counseling psychologist— to have a seat at the same table as them.
  22. ^ "Guest of Honor Bios". Arisia 2015.
  23. ^ Zutter, Natalie (January 4, 2016). "N.K. Jemisin Launches SFF Column at The New York Times Book Review". Tor.com. Retrieved August 13, 2017.
  24. ^ 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.
  25. ^ 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.
  26. ^ Payne, Marshall (June 28, 2011). "Nebula Awards 2010 Interview: N.K. Jemisin". SFWA. Retrieved January 14, 2016.
  27. ^ Bell, W. Kamau. The Awkward Thoughts of W. Kamau Bell. New York, NY: Dutton, 2017, pp. 24, 28. ISBN 978-1-101-98587-8.
  28. ^ Schaub, Michael (August 22, 2016). "Women and writers of color win big at Hugo Awards and the Puppies are even sadder". Los Angeles Times.
  29. ^ "2016 Hugo Awards". The Hugo Awards. Retrieved October 13, 2016.
  30. ^ "Nebula Awards 2018". Science Fiction Awards Database. Archived from the original on May 21, 2018. Retrieved May 20, 2018.
  31. ^ "Announcing the 2018 Locus Awards Winners". Locus. Retrieved June 25, 2018.
  32. ^ "American Library Association announces 2019 youth media award winners". American Library Association. January 28, 2019. Retrieved March 7, 2019.
  33. ^ a b "2020 Hugo, Lodestar, and Astounding Awards Winners". Locus Online. August 1, 2020. Retrieved August 1, 2020.
  34. ^ "William L. Crawford – IAFA Fantasy Award 2011". Retrieved September 7, 2016.
  35. ^ "SFWA Announces 2016 Nebula, Norton, and Bradbury Award Nominees!". The Nebula Awards. February 20, 2017. Retrieved March 6, 2017.
  36. ^ "The Inheritance Trilogy". Nkjemisin.com.
  37. ^ "So, about that Seekrit Project I've been working on…". Nkjemisin.com. April 30, 2014.
  38. ^ "Now it can be told!". Nkjemisin.com. June 25, 2015.
  39. ^ 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.
  40. ^ White, N. E. "The Shadowed Sun by N. K. Jemisin – SFFWorld". Retrieved October 8, 2020.
  41. ^ "Escape Pod 38: L'Alchimista". Escape Pod. January 25, 2006. Retrieved October 19, 2020.
  42. ^ "The City Born Great". tor.com. May 12, 2020.
  43. ^ "Gorgeous 'Black Future Month' Tracks A Writer's Development". NPR.org. Retrieved October 8, 2020.
  44. ^ 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]