On November 4th, 2018, FIYAH editors Justina Ireland and Troy Wiggins were granted the World Fantasy Award in the Non-Professional Special category for our first year of content! The following is the acceptance speech written by Troy in absentia, and given on our behalf by Irette Patterson.
Congratulations to all winners, friends, and finalists. We hope to celebrate many more milestones with you.
First, we’d like to begin with gratitude.
We are grateful to our ancestors and forebears, the black writers and readers and editors who paved the way for us to dream and create and grow. We are especially grateful to the Niggerati, whose legacy we work within. We name them in gratitude for their work: Wallace Thurman, Zora Neale Hurston, Aaron Douglas, John P. Davis, Richard Bruce Nugent, Gwendolyn Bennett, Lewis Grandison Alexander, Countee Cullen, and Langston Hughes. We honor their sacrifices, their struggles, and their victories.
We are grateful to the Fiyah Magazine staff who are not listed as nominees, but whose work is vital to what we do. We name them in gratitude for their work: Brandon O’Brien. Kaleb Russell. Danny Lore. Phenderson Djèlí Clark. L.D. Lewis. Brent Lambert. DaVaun Sanders.
We are grateful to all of the black writers, black poets, black artists, and black independent publishers who trusted us enough to lend us their work so that we could show it to the world.
We are grateful to everyone who has read, bought, or gifted someone an issue of Fiyah Magazine. We are grateful to people who write reviews of Fiyah Magazine. We are grateful to anyone who shares the existence of Fiyah Magazine with anyone that they think will enjoy it.
We are grateful to the World Fantasy Award Judges, the various World Fantasy Award Convention Committees, volunteers, staff (including hotel staff, whose work can go largely unseen and unappreciated during gigantic events like these), and anyone else who has committed their energy or labor toward making this convention a reality.
The theme for this year’s convention is “Ports in A Storm.” The convention defines these as “safe havens” and “sanctuaries for the body and refuges for the spirit.”
Fiyah Magazine was created because of a storm. This storm threatened to exclude and silence some of this planet’s most brilliant writers and thinkers. This storm threatened to keep these writers and thinkers from inking their names on the history of literature, on the history of Fantasy, specifically. This storm has raged since this field’s inception. This storm is still raging.
This storm has many long and difficult names. We will call it “discrimination” for short.
Fiyah rose in direct opposition to that storm, to provide a place for black Science Fiction and Fantasy writers to make their mark, to know that their stories were welcome somewhere, that they were included. That they mattered. If we can take a moment to be honest, we believe that we have done that work well.
Fiyah’s mission is not simply to publish black writers. Our mission is to nurture black writers, to converse with them and teach them and learn from them and help them grow. We are unapologetically and unabashedly dedicated to black writers. We work–and hope–to be a safe haven, a sanctuary for these writers.
We believe that Black Science Fiction and Fantasy writers all over the world are writing the future, and we cannot allow those voices to be silenced. We will be here for these writers even if we don’t win anymore awards, or grants, or get any further recognition, because we don’t do what we do for awards or recognition. We do what we do for black writers. We do what we do for the future.
And, to quote Justina’s evergreen phrase: “the future ain’t going to write itself.”