Rebecca Roanhorse

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Rebeccca Roanhorse
Rebecca RoanhorseIMG 20181008 210356.jpg
ResidenceNew Mexico
NationalityUnited States of America
Alma materYale University
University of New Mexico
science fiction writer
AwardsJohn W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer, 2018
Hugo Award for Best Short Story, 2018
Nebula Award for Best Short Story, 2017[1]

Rebecca Roanhorse (born 1971) is a Hugo and Nebula award-winning Indigenous science fiction/fantasy writer from New Mexico. She has written short stories and science fiction novels featuring Native American characters[2].

Background and family[edit]

Rebecca Roanhorse was born in Conway, Arkansas, and is of Ohkay Owingeh Pueblo and African-American heritage. She was raised in Fort Worth, Texas, where she says she found it difficult to be black and Native in the 1970s and 1980s; thus, she turned to reading and writing, especially science fiction, as a form of escape.[3] Roanhorse is married and has a daughter.[citation needed]


She received a B.A in Religious Studies from Yale University and an M.A in Theology from the Union Theological Seminary. She holds a law degree from the University of New Mexico.

She has attended the Voices of Our Nation Arts Foundation workshop.

Awards and nominations[edit]

In 2018 Roanhorse received three major awards for her short story "Welcome to Your Authentic Indian Experience™" (Apex Magazine 2017): the Hugo Award for Best Short Story, the Nebula Award for Best Short Story, and the John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer. The story also earned her nominations for the Locus Awards for Short Story 2018, the Theodore Sturgeon Memorial Award 2018 and the World Fantasy Awards for Short Story 2018.[4]

In February 2019, Roanhorse's novel Trail of Lightning was nominated for 2019 Nebula Award for Best Novel.[5] In April 2019, it was also nominated for the 2019 Hugo Award for Best Novel.[6]

Written works[edit]


  • Race to the Sun (October 2, 2019)

The Sixth World series

  • Trail of Lightning (June 26, 2018)
  • Storm of Locusts (April 23, 2019)

Short stories and essays[edit]

  • "Native in Space" in Invisible 3, edited by Jim Hines and Mary Anne Mohanraj (June 27, 2017)[7]
  • "Welcome to Your Authentic Indian Experience™" in Apex Magazine (August 8, 2017)[8]
  • "Postcards from the Apocalypse" in Uncanny Magazine (January/February 2018)[9]
  • "Harvest" in New Suns, edited by Nisi Shawl (March 12, 2019)[10]


Her first novel, Trail of Lightning, is an "apocalyptic adventure" set in Dinétah, formerly the Navajo reservation in the Southwestern United States, with mostly Navajo characters. The novel has been criticized for twisting Navajo teachings and spirituality and not respecting Navajo sensibilities at the expense of harming the culture.[11] Several Navajo writers have condemned it as an inaccurate cultural appropriation that uses an at-times mocking and derisive tone.[12] When interviewed by about what sort of aspects she incorporated into her works, Roanhorse responded with what she allowed and what she left out for cultural appropriation.[13]

"I think a lot of Native characters that we see are stuck in the past. So it was important for me to do that, to show Native American readers and non-Native American readers that we're alive and we're thriving in our cultures", she said in 2018.[14]


  1. ^ Nebula Awards, 2017. Retrieved 19 June 2019.
  2. ^ Kerry Lengel, "Navajo legends come to life in Rebecca Roanhorse's debut novel 'Trail of Lightning'" AZ Central (June 22, 2018).
  3. ^ "Rebecca Roanhorse: From Legend to Fantasy". Locus Magazine. September 1, 2018. Retrieved 20 March 2019.
  4. ^ "sfadb : Rebecca Roanhorse Awards". Retrieved 2018-12-20.
  5. ^ "2019 Nebula Award Nominees". Retrieved 2019-02-21.
  6. ^ "2019 Hugo Award Finalists Announced". Retrieved 2019-04-03.
  7. ^ "Invisible 3: Essays and Poems on Representation in SF/F". Retrieved 2019-04-06.
  8. ^ "Welcome to Your Authentic Indian Experience™". Apex Magazine. 2017-08-08. Retrieved 2019-04-06.
  9. ^ Roanhorse, Rebecca. "Postcards from the Apocalypse". Uncanny Magazine. Retrieved 2019-04-06.
  10. ^ New Suns. 2019-03-12. ISBN 9781781085783.
  11. ^ Denetdale, Jennifer. "New novel twists Diné teachings, spirituality." Navajo Times: Window Rock, November 21, 2018, Opinion.
  12. ^ Saad Bee Hózhǫ́/Diné Writers' Association. "Trail of Lightning is an appropriation of Diné cultural beliefs." Indian Country Today. December 5, 2018. Opinion column, open letter
  13. ^ Rocket, Stubby the (2018-07-20). "Rebecca Roanhorse on Which Aspects of Diné Culture Are Featured in Trail of Lightning". Retrieved 2018-12-20.
  14. ^ Kyle Muzyka, "A correction of stereotypes: Rebecca Roanhorse's post-apocalyptic books draw on Indigenous experience" CBC Radio (November 16, 2018).

External links[edit]