2021 World Fantasy Awards

Photo of the trophy for the World Fantasy Awards. The award is on a wooden pedestal and features a gnarled tree holing a golden circle.

The finalists for the 2021 World Fantasy Awards have been announced!

Honoring the best fantasy writers as well as those whose lifetime of work has made a lasting impact on the genre each year, awards are given at the World Fantasy Convention for lifetime achievement, best novel, long fiction, short fiction, and more!  This year's winners will be announced in early November.

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Best Novel


Book cover: Trouble the Saints by Alaya Dawn Johnson.  Cover art features two figures mirroring each other vertically, across a banner with the title.  The figure on top wears a red dress, a white earring, and holds a smoking cigarette. Below, the figure wears a blue shirt with a white apron or overshirt, holding a flower. The background is black.


Book cover: Piranesi by Susanna Clarke.  A satyr with twin flutes stands on a column, in front of a black background. Book cover: Mexican Gothic by Silvia Moreno-Garcia.  In front of a patterned green background, a woman with light brown skin sits in a dark red dress, holding a wilted bouquet of yellow flowers.  The photograph ends just below her eyes. Her hair is smooth and black and falls nearly to her shoulders, and her lipstick matches her dress. Book cover: The Midnight Bargain by C.L. Polk. A dark green and golden pocketwatch takes up nearly the entire cover, with a geometric design around the golden hands, which put the time at just before midnight.  Around the inside of the watch is the text: MIDNIGHT BARGAIAN). The background is dark green, and small pink flowers are scattered over the watch. Book cover: The Only Good Indians by Stephen Graham Jones.  In the dark photograph, frontlight illuminates the top of a deer's head, with a wide black eye and large, 4 prong antlers stretching up to the top.


Best Novella


Book cover: Riot Baby by Tochi Onyebuchi. Behind the title (presented in an angular, futuristic font), is a zoomed in photograph of a woman with light brown skin. Patches of the photograph are mismatched, creating the effect of glitches.


Book cover: Flyaway by Kathleen Jennings.  In the cover art tree branches grow out of a human heart.  On some of the branches sit birds.  The pattern is white, streaked with blue, yellow, and red, against a black background. Book cover: Ring Shout, or Hunting Ku Kluxes in the End Times, P. Djèlí Clark.  In front of a red background is the drawing of black hands reaching up in front of a KKK hood, with the red background showing through the eye holes.  Book cover: The Four Profound Weaves by R.B. Lemberg. The title is presented on a light tan loom, with hands spinning strings at the bottom, birds flying around the fabric and bones scattered below. The background is black. 

Also nominated: "Stepsister" by Leah Cypress


Best Anthology


Book cover: The Big Book of Modern Fantasy, edited by Ann & Jeff VanderMeer.  An illustration of a strange, grayish creature. It is long like a weasel, with a long curved tail, grasping fingers, orange eyes, and dragonfly wings.


Book cover: Edited By, edited by Ellen Datlow.  The cover painting features a human silhouette against a sunset sky, with a tree growing up through the figure and a bright red heart in the center of the head. Book cover: The Valancourt Book of World Horror Stories, Vol. 1, edited by James D. Jenkins & Ryan Cagle.  Against a black background are yellow and lavender sketches of a skull, a teddy bear, a human hand, flying birds, a half-closed eye, and more sketches. Book cover: Shadows & Tall Trees 8, edited by Michael Kelly.  Beneath a black banner with the title is an illustration of figures walking under a bare tree and a monolith.  The moon peaks out behind the large stone, and the sky is foggy, and tined red near the horizon. Book cover: The Book of Dragons, Jonathan Strahan. Against a light sky is a large dark figure of a dragon, with spread wings.  The figure fades into many more dragons, white and black, the air swirling around them.


Best Short Story Collection


Book cover: Where the Wild Ladies Are, Aoko Matsuda.  Bold orange text against a light turquoise background.  In the center of the cover, a frog sits behind the "DI" of LADIES, its fingers and toes curling around the letters


Book cover: The Best of Jeffrey Ford, Jeffrey Ford.  A strange illustration of a pale man standing in front of an orange background.  His eyes are large, black, and spotted - or they are missing.  In front of them are small, circular orange glasses. His top hat opens like a wardrobe, where a hole in his head (which opens like a flower) reveals a spider on a red web. His mouth is open, parted like a cats, with pointy teeth and long canines. Book cover: Velocities: Stories, Kathe Koja.  The photograph of a young adult's face among grass is superimposed over a texture like fire, smoke, or clouds, creating a fuzzy, strange image. Book cover: Nine Bar Blues by Sheree Renée Thomas.  The cover art resembles the center of a record, with the title and author presented on a purple circle with a yellow trumpet and yellow ring around the circle.  Around this central piece are line illustration in bright colors (blue, green, yellow, purple), forming plant vines high-fiving, an alien head, a moon, a city skyline, mermaids, and more.  Book cover: We All Hear Stories in the Dark by Robert Shearman.  A set of three books in a black case. On the side of the case is a white illustrated bust. 


Learn more about this year's finalists (and find more categories) at the World Fantasy Convention website.

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