The 2021 Hugo Awards were held at the 79th World Science Fiction Convention this past weekend. Among the winners were Damian Duffy and John Jennings‘ graphic novel adaptation of Octavia E. Butler‘s The Parable of the Sower, which won the 2021 Hugo Award for Best Graphic Story or Comic.
The 2020-released adaptation of Butler’s 1993 dystopian science fiction novel beat – amongst others – Marjorie Liu and Sana Takeda‘s already three-time award winning series Monstress, and two Kieron Gillen-written series on the ballot (the second volume of Die, with Stephanie Hans; and the first volume of Once & Future, with Dan Mora).
Duffy, accepting the 2021 Hugo on behalf of himself and Jennings, first read out a statement from the Octavia Butler Estate:
“First and foremost, it is most important to say that Octavia Butler has Treasured The Two previous coveted Hugo awards she has received during the coUrse of her lifetime, and today, On behalf of The Octavia Butler Estate and Octavia E. Butler Enterprises, we are deeply honored and proud that this adaptation of PARABLE OF THE SOWER has been nominated for “Best Graphic Novel”, which now makes for a Third Hugo Award for Octavia Butler. Again we are most appreciative for receiving this award on Behalf of Octavia Butler… Thank you.
“From John and I both: Thank you to, obviously, Octavia E. Butler – because she’s a genius and awesome and why we do anything. And thank you to the Butler Estate…for letting us work with them to do these adaptations. Thank you to our editor, Charlotte Greenbaum and our editorial consultant the great Tananarive Due. Thank you to Nalo Hopkinson for writing our introduction, and to our many colour flatters who – I don’t have a list of names but you know who you are and thank you. And thank you to Charlie Kochman and maya Bradford, and to everyone at Abrams ComicArts.
On behalf of John, thank you to his wife Tawana and their son Jaxon, who was born during the creation of this book.
So, of course, I have to thank my family now: thank you to my parents, my mom Sharon, my wife Jen, my son Simon, my daughter Gwen. Thank you also to Chris and Jeff for giving me a space to drink beer and not have a nervous breakdown waiting for the announcement of this award.
While such an honour and a privilege to collaborate with Octavia’s words, and to win this award and to be part of all of this, I wish even more that the Earthseed books, their dystopian warning of a capitalistic hellscape were not so prescient, and I hope that Octavia’s advice for hope and resistance for the future is more carefully attended.
Thank you so much. Thank you to everyone I forgot. Thank you.
John Jennings later posted on Facebook,
“I’ve been a fan of science fiction as long as I can remember. My mom got me hooked on speculative fiction at a young age and I’ve never looked back. However, when I read WILD SEED by Octavia E. Butler, I saw something that I’d never seen before in those stories. I saw people who looked like me. The novel had a connection to the African diaspora and Black people were central and vital to the narrative. WILD SEED changed everything about what I was doing with my own attempts at writing. Octavia Butler shifted the paradigm for me. Today, my friend and collaborator Dr. Damian Duffy won The Hugo Award for the adaptation we did of one of Butler’s most beloved and prescient works: THE PARABLE OF THE SOWER. It’s an honor that I am incredibly moved by and I hope that we truly have added to her legacy. Feeling very grateful.”
Publisher Abrams tweeted:
Amazing news! The graphic novel adaptation of PARABLE OF THE SOWER has won the 2021 @thehugoawards for Best Graphic Story or Comic. A huge congratulations to @JIJennings and Damian Duffy! https://t.co/PaOfV3YupA pic.twitter.com/5gGLF3jIsh
— ABRAMS Books (@ABRAMSbooks) December 20, 2021
Duffy and Jennings are already at work on adapting Butler’s 1998 sequel Parable of the Talents.
Parable of the Sower is the pair’s second Butler adaptation. In 2017 they released Kindred. A New York Times bestseller, the book also earned the pair a Bram Stoker Award that same year.
Also comics-related, the movie adaptation of Greg Rucka and Leandro Fernández’ 2017 Image series The Old Guard won the 2021 Hugo for Best Dramatic Presentation, Long Form. Rucka himself wrote the screenplay for the Netflix-released movie, directed by Gina Prince-Bythwood and starring Charlize Theron.
In other news, the widely lauded Supergiant Games’ Hades won the one-off special Video Game Hugo, and the series finale of The Good Place won Best Dramatic Presentation, Short Form.
Below are the winners and nominees of the 2021 Hugo Awards in full.
- WINNER: Network Effect, Martha Wells (Tor.com)
- Black Sun, Rebecca Roanhorse (Gallery / Saga Press)
- The City We Became, N.K. Jemisin (Orbit)
- Harrow The Ninth, Tamsyn Muir (Tor.com)
- Piranesi, Susanna Clarke (Bloomsbury)
- The Relentless Moon, Mary Robinette Kowal (Tor Books)
- WINNER: The Empress of Salt and Fortune, Nghi Vo (Tor.com)
- Come Tumbling Down, Seanan McGuire (Tor.com)
- Finna, Nino Cipri (Tor.com)
- Ring Shout, P. Djèlí Clark (Tor.com)
- Riot Baby, Tochi Onyebuchi (Tor.com)
- Upright Women Wanted, Sarah Gailey (Tor.com)
- WINNER: Two Truths and a Lie, Sarah Pinsker (Tor.com)
- “Burn, or the Episodic Life of Sam Wells as a Super”, A.T. Greenblatt (Uncanny Magazine, May/June 2020)
- “Helicopter Story”, Isabel Fall (Clarkesworld, January 2020)
- “The Inaccessibility of Heaven”, Aliette de Bodard (Uncanny Magazine, July/August 2020)
- “Monster”, Naomi Kritzer (Clarkesworld, January 2020)
- “The Pill”, Meg Elison (from Big Girl, (PM Press))
Best Short Story
- WINNER: “Metal Like Blood in the Dark”, T. Kingfisher (Uncanny Magazine, September/October 2020)
- “Badass Moms in the Zombie Apocalypse”, Rae Carson (Uncanny Magazine, January/February 2020)
- “A Guide for Working Breeds”, Vina Jie-Min Prasad (Made to Order: Robots and Revolution, ed. Jonathan Strahan (Solaris))
- Little Free Library, Naomi Kritzer (Tor.com)
- “The Mermaid Astronaut”, Yoon Ha Lee (Beneath Ceaseless Skies, February 2020)
- “Open House on Haunted Hill”, John Wiswell (Diabolical Plots – 2020, ed. David Steffen)
- WINNER: The Murderbot Diaries, Martha Wells (Tor.com)
- The Daevabad Trilogy, S.A. Chakraborty (Harper Voyager)
- The Interdependency, John Scalzi (Tor Books)
- The Lady Astronaut Universe, Mary Robinette Kowal (Tor Books/Audible/Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction)
- October Daye, Seanan McGuire (DAW)
- The Poppy War, R.F. Kuang (Harper Voyager)
Best Related Work
- WINNER: Beowulf: A New Translation, Maria Dahvana Headley (FSG)
- CoNZealand Fringe, Claire Rousseau, C, Cassie Hart, Adri Joy, Marguerite Kenner, Cheryl Morgan, Alasdair Stuart.
- FIYAHCON, L.D. Lewis–Director, Brent Lambert–Senior Programming Coordinator, Iori Kusano–FIYAHCON Fringe Co-Director, Vida Cruz–FIYAHCON Fringe Co-Director, and the Incredible FIYAHCON team
- “George R.R. Martin Can Fuck Off Into the Sun, Or: The 2020 Hugo Awards Ceremony (Rageblog Edition)”, Natalie Luhrs (Pretty Terrible, August 2020)
- A Handful of Earth, A Handful of Sky: The World of Octavia E. Butler, Lynell George (Angel City Press)
- The Last Bronycon: a fandom autopsy, Jenny Nicholson (YouTube)
Best Graphic Story or Comic
- WINNER: Parable of the Sower: A Graphic Novel Adaptation, written by Octavia Butler, adapted by Damian Duffy, illustrated by John Jennings (Harry N. Abrams)
- DIE, Volume 2: Split the Party, written by Kieron Gillen and Stephanie Hans, letters by Clayton Cowles (Image Comics)
- Ghost-Spider vol. 1: Dog Days Are Over, Author: Seanan McGuire, Artist: Takeshi Miyazawa and Rosie Kämpe (Marvel)
- Invisible Kingdom, vol 2: Edge of Everything, Author: G. Willow Wilson, Artist: Christian Ward (Dark Horse Comics)
- Monstress, vol. 5: Warchild, Author: Marjorie Liu, Artist: Sana Takeda (Image Comics)
- Once & Future vol. 1: The King Is Undead, written by Kieron Gillen, iIllustrated by Dan Mora, colored by Tamra Bonvillain, lettered by Ed Dukeshire (BOOM! Studios)
Best Dramatic Presentation, Long Form
- WINNER: The Old Guard, written by Greg Rucka, directed by Gina Prince-Bythewood (Netflix / Skydance Media)
- Birds of Prey (and the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn), written by Christina Hodson, directed by Cathy Yan (Warner Bros.)
- Eurovision Song Contest: The Story of Fire Saga, written by Will Ferrell, Andrew Steele, directed by David Dobkin (European Broadcasting Union/Netflix)
- Palm Springs, written by Andy Siara, directed by Max Barbakow (Limelight / Sun Entertainment Culture / The Lonely Island / Culmination Productions / Neon / Hulu / Amazon Prime)
- Soul, screenplay by Pete Docter, Mike Jones and Kemp Powers, directed by Pete Docter, co-directed by Kemp Powers, produced by Dana Murray (Pixar Animation Studios/ Walt Disney Pictures)
- Tenet, written and directed by Christopher Nolan (Warner Bros./Syncopy)
Best Dramatic Presentation, Short Form
- WINNER: The Good Place: Whenever You’re Ready, written and directed by Michael Schur (Fremulon / 3 Arts Entertainment / Universal Television, a division of Universal Studio Group)
- Doctor Who: Fugitive of the Judoon, written by Vinay Patel and Chris Chibnall, directed by Nida Manzoor (BBC)
- The Expanse: Gaugamela, written by Dan Nowak, directed by Nick Gomez (Alcon Entertainment / Alcon Television Group / Amazon Studios / Hivemind / Just So)
- She-Ra and the Princesses of Power: Heart (parts 1 and 2), written by Josie Campbell and Noelle Stevenson, directed by Jen Bennett and Kiki Manrique (DreamWorks Animation Television / Netflix)
- The Mandalorian: Chapter 13: The Jedi, written and directed by Dave Filoni (Golem Creations / Lucasfilm / Disney+)
- The Mandalorian: Chapter 16: The Rescue, written by Jon Favreau, directed by Peyton Reed (Golem Creations / Lucasfilm / Disney+)
Best Editor, Short Form
- WINNER: Ellen Datlow
- Neil Clarke
- C.C. Finlay
- Mur Lafferty and S.B. Divya
- Jonathan Strahan
- Sheila Williams
Best Editor, Long Form
- WINNER: Diana M. Pho
- Nivia Evans
- Sheila E. Gilbert
- Sarah Guan
- Brit Hvide
- Navah Wolfe
Best Professional Artist
- WINNER: Rovina Cai
- Tommy Arnold
- Galen Dara
- Maurizio Manzieri
- John Picacio
- Alyssa Winans
- WINNER: FIYAH Magazine of Black Speculative Fiction, publisher Troy L. Wiggins, executive editor DaVaun Sanders, managing editor Eboni Dunbar, poetry editor Brandon O’Brien, reviews and social media Brent Lambert, art director L. D. Lewis, and the FIYAH Team.
- Beneath Ceaseless Skies, ed. Scott H. Andrews
- Escape Pod, editors Mur Lafferty and S.B. Divya, assistant editor Benjamin C. Kinney, hosts Tina Connolly and Alasdair Stuart, audio producers Summer Brooks and Adam Pracht and the entire Escape Pod team.
- PodCastle, editors, C.L. Clark and Jen R. Albert, assistant editor and host, Setsu Uzumé, producer Peter Adrian Behravesh, and the entire PodCastle team.
- Uncanny Magazine, editors in chief: Lynne M. Thomas and Michael Damian Thomas, managing editor: Chimedum Ohaegbu, non-fiction editor: Elsa Sjunneson, podcast producers: Erika Ensign and Steven Schapansky
Strange Horizons, Vanessa Aguirre, Joseph Aitken, Rachel Ayers, M H Ayinde, Tierney Bailey, Scott Beggs, Drew Matthew Beyer, Gautam Bhatia, S. K. Campbell, Zhui Ning Chang, Rita Chen, Tania Chen, Joyce Chng, Liz Christman, Linda H. Codega, Kristian Wilson Colyard, Yelena Crane, Bruhad Dave, Sarah Davidson, Tahlia Day, Arinn Dembo, Nathaniel Eakman, Belen Edwards, George Tom Elavathingal, Rebecca Evans, Ciro Faienza, Courtney Floyd, Lila Garrott, Colette Grecco, Guananí Gómez-Van Cortright, Julia Gunnison, Dan Hartland, Sydney Hilton, Angela Hinck, Stephen Ira, Amanda Jean, Ai Jiang, Sean Joyce-Farley, Erika Kanda, Anna Krepinsky, Kat Kourbeti, Clayton Kroh, Maureen Kincaid Speller, Catherine Krahe, Natasha Leullier, A.Z. Louise, Dante Luiz, Gui Machiavelli, Cameron Mack, Samantha Manaktola, Marisa Manuel, Jean McConnell, Heather McDougal, Maria Morabe, Amelia Moriarty, Emory Noakes, Sarah Noakes, Aidan Oatway, AJ Odasso, Joel Oliver-Cormier, Kristina Palmer, Karintha Parker, Anjali Patel, Vanessa Rose Phin, Nicasio Reed, Belicia Rhea, Endria Richardson, Natalie Ritter, Abbey Schlanz, Clark Seanor, Elijah Rain Smith, Hebe Stanton, Melody Steiner, Romie Stott, Yejin Suh, Kwan-Ann Tan, Luke Tolvaj, Ben Tyrrell, Renee Van Siclen, Kathryn Weaver, Liza Wemakor, Aigner Loren Wilson, E.M. Wright, Vicki Xu, Fred G. Yost, staff members who prefer not to be named, and guest editor Libia Brenda with guest first reader Raquel González-Franco Alva for the Mexicanx special issue
- WINNER: nerds of a feather, flock together, ed. Adri Joy, Joe Sherry, The G, and Vance Kotrla
- The Full Lid, written by Alasdair Stuart, edited by Marguerite Kenner
- Journey Planet, edited by Michael Carroll, John Coxon, Sara Felix, Ann Gry, Sarah Gulde, Alissa McKersie, Errick Nunnally, Pádraig Ó Méalóid, Chuck Serface, Steven H. Silver, Paul Trimble, Erin Underwood, James Bacon, and Chris Garcia.
- Lady Business, editors. Ira, Jodie, KJ, Renay, and Susan.
nerds of a feather, flock together, ed. Adri Joy, Joe Sherry, The G, and Vance Kotrla
- Quick Sip Reviews, editor, Charles Payseur
- Unofficial Hugo Book Club Blog, ed. Amanda Wakaruk and Olav Rokne
- WINNER: The Coode Street Podcast, presented by Jonathan Strahan and Gary K. Wolfe, Jonathan Strahan, producer
- Be The Serpent, presented by Alexandra Rowland, Freya Marske and Jennifer Mace
- Claire Rousseau’s YouTube channel, produced by Claire Rousseau
- Kalanadi, produced and presented by Rachel
- The Skiffy and Fanty show, produced by Shaun Duke and Jen Zink, presented by Shaun Duke, Jen Zink, Alex Acks, Paul Weimer, and David Annandale.
- Worldbuilding for Masochists, presented by Rowenna Miller, Marshall Ryan Maresca and Cass Morris
Best Fan Writer
- WINNER: Elsa Sjunneson
- Cora Buhlert
- Charles Payseur
- Jason Sanford
- Alasdair Stuart
- Paul Weimer
Best Fan Artist
- WINNER: Sara Felix
- Iain J. Clark
- Cyan Daly
- Grace P. Fong
- Maya Hahto
- Laya Rose
Best Video Game [One-time Special Hugo Award Category]
- WINNER: Hades (Publisher and Developer: Supergiant Games)
- Animal Crossing: New Horizons (Publisher and Developer: Nintendo)
- Blaseball (Publisher and Developer: The Game Band)
- Final Fantasy VII Remake (Publisher Square Enix)
- The Last of Us: Part II (Publisher: Sony Interactive Entertainment / Developer: Naughty Dog)
- Spiritfarer (Publisher and Developer: Thunder Lotus)