The World Fantasy Awards winners for works published in 2020 were announced during the World Fantasy 2021 convention, held November 4th through 7th in Montreal.
Life Achievement Awards, presented annually to individuals who have demonstrated outstanding service to the fantasy field, went to Megan Lindholm and Howard Waldrop.
Trouble the Saints by Alaya Dawn Johnson
Amid the whir of city life, a young woman from Harlem is drawn into the glittering underworld of Manhattan, where she’s hired to use her knives to strike fear among its most dangerous denizens. Ten years later, Phyllis LeBlanc has given up everything—not just her own past, and Dev, the man she loved, but even her own dreams.
Still, the ghosts from her past are always by her side—and history has appeared on her doorstep to threaten the people she keeps in her heart. And so Phyllis will have to make a harrowing choice, before it’s too late—is there ever enough blood in the world to wash clean generations of injustice?
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Riot Baby by Tochi Onyebuchi
Ella has a Thing. She sees a classmate grow up to become a caring nurse. A neighbor’s son murdered in a drive-by shooting. Things that haven’t happened yet. Kev, born while Los Angeles burned around them, wants to protect his sister from a power that could destroy her. But when Kev is incarcerated, Ella must decide what it means to watch her brother suffer while holding the ability to wreck cities in her hands.
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The Big Book of Modern Fantasy, edited by Ann and Jeff VanderMeer
When worlds beyond worlds became a genre unto itself. From the swinging sixties to the strange, strange seventies, the over-the-top eighties to the gnarly nineties–and beyond, into the twenty-first century–the VanderMeers have found the stories and the writers from around the world that reinvented and revitalized the fantasy genre after World War II.
Where the Wild Ladies Are by Aoko Matsuda
A busybody aunt who disapproves of hair removal; a pair of door-to-door saleswomen hawking portable lanterns; a cheerful lover who visits every night to take a luxurious bath; a silent house-caller who babysits and cleans while a single mother is out working. Where the Wild Ladies Are is populated by these and many other spirited women – who also happen to be ghosts. This is a realm in which jealousy, stubbornness, and other excessive “feminine” passions are not to be feared or suppressed, but rather cultivated; and, chances are, a man named Mr. Tei will notice your talents and recruit you, dead or alive (preferably dead), to join his mysterious company.
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Best Short Fiction
“Glass Bottle Dancer” by Celeste Rita Baker (Lightspeed, April 2020)