(Screenshots courtesy of Cecilia Tan. Photos courtesy of DisConIII.)
Below is a transcript of my Hugo Award speech given at DisConIII / the 79th WorldCon at the Omni Shoreham in Washington DC on December 18, 2021.
(Fun fact: I wrote this on hotel paper during the Hugo pre-reception right before the ceremony!)
(I thought to brought, I should have brought, cocktail napkins, dammit).
This feels like an impossible year of impossible choices.
I am still so grateful.
It was so unspeakably painful to live the last 18 months knowing — sharply — your breath, the very words out of your mouth, can kill.
Strangers. Loved ones. The vulnerable.
It makes you so afraid to speak. It makes you second-guess your choices. It makes even now being vaxxed, tested, boostered, all that, is not enough. Perhaps I am not enough. But I have done… I have now nothing except my words by which to make this known. It is so hard to feel the pressure and the honor to have the Hugo Award tonight.
Everyone in this room & online has probably felt this ambivalent feeling. Every BIPOC person or queer person or if you are disabled or any marginalization that this world has made you feel rejected and unknown and unappreciated possibly have felt this feeling of making impossible choices. To finally gain and enjoy your glories at some kind of expense or judgement. Some kind of sacrifice or self-guessing that people outside of this experience perhaps cannot grasp.
I am so grateful and yet I am so sorry.
But YOU, all of you, help instill in me that something beautiful is happening. That our passion, our creativity, our art can still exist, even in the face of death. And maybe in this glorious moment, I feel — WE can feel — triumphant.
I’d like to thank the WorldCon community for your support; my beautiful wife Ashley — I love you so much. My family: my mom, my dad, my siblings Patrick, Kim and Daniel. Fandom for getting me through the roughest times. My authors for being my inspiration and my drive.
Special thanks to Jaymee Goh, Ann & Jeff VanderMeer, K. Tempest Bradford, Beth Phelan, Ilene Wong, Alex White, LD Lewis, Charlie Jane Anders, Margaret Killjoy, Miriam Rocek, Annalee Newitz, Liz Gorinsky, Aerin Commins — you know why.
My wonderful nominees I love you guys so much: Sheila, Sarah, Nivia, Brit & Navah.
The Hot Pot Aunties & the Blob – thank you.
My ancestors who guide me and my publishing mentors who have fostered me.
Everyone who I not have mentioned but hold in my heart tonight and forevermore.
Thank you all, be well, protect and love each other. Thank you.