Winners of the 2020 World Fantasy Awards Announced

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Leah Rachel von Essen

Senior Contributor

By day, Leah Rachel von Essen is the editor-in-chief of Chicago Booth Magazine at the University of Chicago. By night, she reviews genre-bending fiction for Booklist, and writes regularly as a senior contributor at Book Riot. Her blog While Reading and Walking has over 10,000 dedicated followers over several social media outlets, including Instagram. She writes passionately about books in translation, chronic illness and bias in healthcare, queer books, twisty SFF, and magical realism and folklore. She was one of a select few bookstagrammers named to NewCity’s Chicago Lit50 in 2022. She is an avid traveler, a passionate fan of women’s basketball and soccer, and a lifelong learner. Twitter: @reading_while

The World Fantasy Awards have announced their winners for the most outstanding fantasy books and works published in 2019. The winners were announced as part of the World Fantasy Convention, which was held virtually this year.

Best Novel went to Queen of the Conquered by Kacen Callender, a rich Caribbean-inspired fantasy about the twisting, violent politics in a chain of colonized islands permeated with magic abilities. Callender’s fantasy won among a superb shortlist of nominees that included The Ten Thousand Doors of January by Alix E. Harrow, The Raven Tower by Ann Leckie, Gideon the Ninth by Tamsyn Muir, and The Memory Police by Yōko Ogawa, translated by Stephen Snyder.

In addition to the regular awards, the Life Achievement Awards are presented yearly to individuals who have demonstrated outstanding service to the fantasy field.

This year, the first went to Karen Joy Fowler. Fowler is author of The Jane Austen Book Club and cofounder of the James Tiptree Jr. Award, a literary prize for science fiction or fantasy that “expands or explores our understanding of gender.” Fowler has won two World Fantasy Awards, two Nebula Awards, a Shirley Jackson Award, and more for her short stories.

The second winner of a Lifetime Achievement Award was Rowena Morrill, an artist and illustrator who has been nominated four times for the Hugo Award in the Best Artist category. She has created book covers for books by authors including Anne McCaffrey, Madeleine L’Engle, Isaac Asimov, and more, and is credited as one of the first female artists to impact paperback cover illustration.

The full list of winners for the 2020 World Fantasy Awards:

Best Novel

Queen of the Conquered by Kacen Callender

Best Novella

Silver in the Wood by Emily Tesh

Best Short Fiction

“Read After Burning” by Maria Dahvana Headley (A People’s Future of the United States edited by Victor LaValle and John Joseph Adams)

Best Anthology

New Suns: Original Speculative Fiction by People of Color edited by Nisi Shawl

Best Collection

Song for the Unraveling of the World by Brian Evenson

Best Artist

Kathleen Jennings

dark fantastic cover

Special Award, Professional

Ebony Elizabeth Thomas for The Dark Fantastic: Race and the Imagination from Harry Potter to the Hunger Games

Special Award, Non-Professional

Bodhisattva Chattopadhyay, Laura E. Goodin, and Esko Suoranta for Fafnir—Nordic Journal of Science Fiction and Fantasy Research

For a full list of the nominated authors, artists, and other works, and the chance to fill your reading list to the brim with excellent fantasy work, visit the World Fantasy website.

For more literary awards coverage, click here.