Nebula Award Acceptance Speech for Best Novel–Annihilation

Saturday the Nebula Awards were announced, and my novel Annihilation won in the best novel category. You can find the entire list of nominees and winners here–congratulations to all. I was in San Antonio for a family wedding and so couldn’t attend the ceremony. But my friend (and very talented writer) Usman Tanveer Malik accepted on my behalf and read the speech below Thanks for all of the congratulations on social media–I’m afraid I haven’t yet caught up on my thanks individually since it’s been overwhelming and I was away from my computer much of the weekend. Special thanks to my editor Sean McDonald at FSG.



Thank you for this honor—my thanks to the voters and my heartfelt appreciation to the other nominees. Thanks to my wife Ann, love of my life and the only person I felt comfortable talking to about the Southern Reach trilogy while writing the rough drafts. The characters and situations were immeasurably enriched by her contributions—as are most things. A huge thank you to my agent Sally Harding and to Farrar, Straus and Giroux, as well as the many publishers world-wide who have been so enthusiastic about this series.

My novels have been nominated for many awards, but this is the first time I’ve won something. Which is funny because I wrote this novel while I had severe bronchitis and for a long time thought maybe I’d just written something aimless about four women wandering a wilderness landscape that happened to resemble the 14-mile trail I hike in North Florida. Also, given that the Southern Reach trilogy as a whole is an examination of the dysfunction and absurdity found in human-created systems, it’s astonishing to me that I was up for a Nebula rather than this year’s Hugo. For which fact I am eternally grateful, however.

If I have anything else left to say—beyond cursing the fates at having a scheduling conflict the year Nick Offerman hosted the Nebulas—it would just be this…It’s an encouraging sign that Liu Cixin’s novel made the ballot this year, and I hope it’s the start of a trend. I’m uncomfortably aware of the fact that for a lot of international writers US- and UK-based awards seem distant and inaccessible. The more that writers from outside of  the Usual Places feel like their work is being seriously considered, the more we build a broader and more diverse community. The more we enrich our own work as well.

If I had to confess to influences on the Southern Reach trilogy, they would come from all over the world, and from amazing writers who published stunning novels and stories in English but who never even made a Nebula ballot. In accepting this award, I must also accept that I am only as good as the sum of that diverse reading. So I dedicate this win to those writers and to their legacy.

Thank you very much again for this honor.

4 comments on “Nebula Award Acceptance Speech for Best Novel–Annihilation

  1. PhilRM says:

    Congratulations, Jeff! That was a well-deserved win – I thought The Southern Reach was the SFF publishing event of last year. Great speech, too.

  2. Peter Nel says:

    Well said, and congratulations! Good luck for the Campbell Awards, where the entire trilogy is nominated.

  3. Congratulations from Blackstone! It was a thrill to hear your name called at the Awards ceremony. Well deserved. Looking forward to your future work.
    All the best!

  4. Oh, thanks, Haila!

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