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Rivers Solomon

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Rivers Solomon
Born1989 (age 34–35)[1]
EducationStanford University, Michener Center for Writers at the University of Texas at Austin
Known for
Websiterivers-solomon.com Edit this at Wikidata

Rivers Solomon is an American author of speculative and literary fiction. In 2018, they received the Community of Literary Magazines and Presses' Firecracker Award in Fiction[2] for their debut novel, An Unkindness of Ghosts, and in 2020 their second novel, The Deep, won the Lambda Literary Award.[3] Their third novel, Sorrowland, was published in May 2021, and won the Otherwise Award.

Personal life[edit]

Solomon is non-binary and intersex and states that they use fae/faer and they/them pronouns.[4] They describe themself as "a dyke, an anarchist, a she-beast, an exile, a shiv, a wreck, and a refugee of the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade."[4] They have attention deficit hyperactivity disorder[5] and are on the autism spectrum.[6]

As of 2018, Solomon lives in Cambridge, UK, with their family.[4] Originally from the United States, they received their BA in Comparative Studies in Race and Ethnicity from Stanford University in California and an MFA in Fiction Writing from the Michener Center for Writers at the University of Texas at Austin.[1] They grew up in California, Indiana, Texas, and New York. Their literary influences include Ursula K. Le Guin, Octavia E. Butler, Alice Walker, Zora Neale Hurston, Ray Bradbury, Jean Toomer, and Doris Lessing.[4][7]


Solomon's debut novel was An Unkindness of Ghosts, a science fiction novel exploring the conjunction between structural racism and generation ships. It was published in 2017 by Akashic Books. The book was a best book of 2017 in The Guardian, NPR, Publishers Weekly, Library Journal, Bustle, and others, as well as a Stonewall Honor Book,[8] Firecracker winner,[9] and a finalist for the Locus, Lambda, Tiptree, John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer, and Hurston/Wright awards.[10][11][12]

Amal El-Mohtar wrote of An Unkindness of Ghosts, "Reading it, I felt it carving out a vastness inside me, pouring itself into me like so many stars, and the more I read the bigger I felt, falling down a rabbit-hole of sky and wanting only to go deeper and farther with every page."[13] Gary K. Wolfe opined "All this might make An Unkindness of Ghosts sound like a programmatic slavery allegory dressed in generation starship trappings, but Solomon’s evocation of this society is so sharply detailed and viscerally realized, the characters so closely observed, the individual scenes so tightly structured, that the novel achieves surprising power and occasional brilliance."[14]

Their second book, The Deep (2019, Saga Press), is based on the Hugo-nominated song of the same name by the experimental hip-hop group Clipping, and depicts a utopian underwater society built by the water-breathing descendants of pregnant slaves thrown overboard from slave ships. The Deep won the 2020 Lambda Award and was shortlisted for the Nebula, Locus, and Hugo.[15][16][17]

On October 3, 2019, it was announced that MCD Books had acquired Solomon's next book, Sorrowland, which was published in May 2021. Sorrowland is described as "a genre-bending work of gothic fiction that wrestles with the tangled history of racism in America and the marginalization of society’s undesirables."[18] In a review, Hephzidah Anderson succinctly captures the residual emotions this book evokes, writing "It’s about escape, self-acceptance and queer love. It’s about genocide and the exploitation of black bodies, self-delusion and endemic corruption, motherhood and inheritance."[19] Sorrowland won the Otherwise Award for 2021; the award was presented to them during Wiscon 46, at which they were co-Guest of Honor with Martha Wells, in May of 2023.[20]

Solomon's shorter work has been featured in Black Warrior Review,[21] The New York Times,[22] Guernica,[23] The Best American Short Stories,[24] Tor.com,[25] The Paris Review and elsewhere. They collaborated with authors Yoon Ha Lee, Becky Chambers, and S. L. Huang on the serial novel The Vela.[26]



  1. ^ a b "Rivers Solomon: Into the Deep". Locus Online. December 16, 2019. Retrieved July 3, 2020.
  2. ^ "Firecracker Awards - Community of Literary Magazines and Presses".
  3. ^ "2020 Winners". Lambda Literary. Retrieved 2020-11-05.
  4. ^ a b c d Solomon, Rivers. "Rivers Solomon - Xeno-biography". Rivers Solomon - Mothership. Archived from the original on 2020-09-28. Retrieved January 29, 2021.
  5. ^ Solomon, Rivers [@cyborgyndroid] (23 June 2020). "My ADHD is part of my personality & I don't need to talk about it in medicalised terms to understand it as it relates to capitalism. Also, pls know that it's a common thing for white ppl to be superior about the language ppl use to discuss disability and it's colonialist af" (Tweet). Retrieved 9 February 2023 – via Twitter.
  6. ^ Solomon, Rivers [@cyborgyndroid] (18 June 2020). "I'm autistic" (Tweet). Retrieved 9 February 2023 – via Twitter.
  7. ^ Haldeman, Peter (October 24, 2018). "The Coming of Age of Transgender Literature". The New York Times.
  8. ^ admin (2009-09-09). "Stonewall Book Awards List". Round Tables. Retrieved 2020-11-04.
  9. ^ "2018 Firecracker Award Winners". CLMP. Retrieved November 4, 2020.
  10. ^ "'An Unkindness of Ghosts' by River Solomon". Lambda Literary. 2017-11-02. Retrieved 2020-11-04.
  11. ^ "sfadb : Rivers Solomon Awards". www.sfadb.com. Retrieved 2020-11-04.
  12. ^ Murphy, Pat (2018-03-14). "Virginia Bergin Wins 2017 Tiptree Award! Honor List and Long List Announced. « Otherwise Award". Otherwise Award. Retrieved 2020-11-04.
  13. ^ El-Mohtar, Amal (October 6, 2017). "'Unkindness Of Ghosts' Transposes The Plantation's Cruelty To The Stars". NPR. Archived from the original on February 18, 2019.
  14. ^ Wolfe, Gary K (January 28, 2018). "Gary K. Wolfe Reviews An Unkindness of Ghosts by Rivers Solomon". Locus. Archived from the original on August 23, 2018.
  15. ^ "2020 Hugo Awards". The Hugo Awards. 2020-04-07. Retrieved 2020-11-04.
  16. ^ "Rivers Solomon". The Nebula Awards®. Retrieved 2020-11-04.
  17. ^ locusmag (2020-11-02). "World Fantasy Awards Winners". Locus Online. Retrieved 2020-11-04.
  18. ^ Tor.com (2019-10-03). "Announcing Sorrowland, a New Work of Gothic Fiction from Rivers Solomon". Tor.com. Retrieved 2020-11-05.
  19. ^ "Sorrowland by Rivers Solomon review – an electrifying gothic techno-thriller". the Guardian. 2021-05-18. Retrieved 2021-10-07.
  20. ^ Wiscon 46 schedule
  21. ^ Haas, Katy (23 July 2018). "Black Warrior Review - Spring/Summer 2018". www.newpages.com. Retrieved 2020-11-05.
  22. ^ Solomon, Rivers (2020-07-07). "Rivers Solomon: 'Prudent Girls,' a Short Story". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2020-11-05.
  23. ^ Solomon, Rivers. "Stories by rivers-solomon on Guernica". Guernica. Retrieved 2020-11-05.
  24. ^ Pitlor, Heidi and Gay, Roxane (editors), The Best American Short Stories 2018 Houghton Mifflin, New York, 2018.
  25. ^ "sfadb : Rivers Solomon Titles". www.sfadb.com. Retrieved 2020-11-05.
  26. ^ "The Vela". www.serialbox.com. Retrieved 2020-11-05.

External links[edit]


An Unkindness of Ghosts[edit]

The Deep[edit]