The Hugo Awards trophy changes slightly each year. This was the design for 2017, by Eeva Jokinen.(Photo by Kevin Standlee)
The Hugo Awards trophy changes slightly each year. This was the design for 2017, by Eeva Jokinen.(Photo by Kevin Standlee)

2 Indians nominated for Hugo Awards for science fiction and fantasy

Dalit writer Mimi Mondal and lawyer Gautam Bhatia are on the shortlist for the Oscars of the sci-fi world.
By Jayati Bhola | Hindustan Times
UPDATED ON MAY 03, 2018 11:37 AM IST

Kolkata-born Mimi Mondal has become the first Indian writer nominated for a Hugo award for a book she co-edited. Also on the nominee list is Delhi-based lawyer Gautam Bhatia, along with seven other editors and staff of the Strange Horizons magazine.

The Hugo Awards recognise, annually, the best published science fiction and fantasy (SFF) work worldwide.

“The Hugos, as well as the entire international SFF community, have historically been a nurturing space only for white people. It is still massively dominated by white men and Americans,” says Mondal, 30, who is now based in New York.

This is a layered victory for Mondal, who is also a Dalit. “To identify as Dalit is important to me,” she adds. “Contrary to popular opinion back home, casteism exists very strongly in the US and other Western countries. Often more strongly than in at least the urban spaces of India, since immigrant Indian communities are usually small and well-connected. I must acknowledge the struggles of my ancestors and my own, and represent the rest of the community that is so deeply oppressed.”

Mondal has been nominated for her first book, Luminescent Threads: Connections to Octavia E Butler, along with co-editor Alexandra Pierce, in the Best Related Work category. The book is a nonfiction anthology of several SFF authors’ and fans’ posthumous personal letters to Octavia Butler, one of the first African-American sci-fi writers, who died in 2006.

‘The Hugos, as well as the entire international SFF community, have historically been a nurturing space only for white people. It is still massively dominated by white men and Americans,’ says the Kolkata-born Mondal, 30, who is now based in New York.
‘The Hugos, as well as the entire international SFF community, have historically been a nurturing space only for white people. It is still massively dominated by white men and Americans,’ says the Kolkata-born Mondal, 30, who is now based in New York.

The aim of the book, Mondal says, was to document the tremendous challenges diverse authors face when it comes to gaining visibility and respect in the world of SFF. “These people are telling Butler about their struggles and triumphs in the genre, ranging from well-known authors to those for whom this book was their first publication.”

For 29-year-old Bhatia, meanwhile, the excitement comes from being nominated in a genre he has adored since he was 10. “I read my first sci-fi book, Hobbit, when I was 10 years old, and then Isaac Asimov’s The Foundation series. To be nominated does demonstrate certain recognition by peers,” he says.

Bhatia, a lawyer, joined the Strange Horizons editorial board in 2016, but has been contributing book reviews to the magazine for four years.

“Only if we have institutional structure for the SFF community can it flourish in India,” he says. “We need to have regular conventions where SFF authors and readers can come together to create readership and a sense of community.”

He does see signs of change in this respect already. “Take Mithila Review. It’s an online magazine based out of Delhi which features SFF writers from South Asia and around the world. They’re commissioning poetry, stories and reviews,” he says.

PAST FORWARD

There was an Indian presence in the Hugo nominations last year. Aishwarya Subramanian, reviews editor for Strange Horizons, was shortlisted along with editorial staff, including Bhatia.

“There’s a visible change in the Hugo nominations when it comes to diversity,” says the 32-year-old Subramanian, now a postdoctoral researcher based in the UK. “It’s a less drastic change in nonfiction and that’s one reason why it’s so nice to see Mimi’s book there.”

Some of the work Strange Horizons publishes can feel a bit niche, including quite dense nonfiction and sci-fi poetry, she adds, “so gaining recognition from a popular award is never something we can take for granted”.

The Hugo Awards were launched in 1955, and are named after Hugo Gernsback, the editor and publisher of the world’s first science-fiction magazine, Amazing Stories, which he founded in 1926.

The awards are organised by the World Science Fiction Society (WSFS), as part of the World Science Fiction Convention held each August; winners are determined by popular vote.

‘I read my first sci-fi book, Hobbit, when I was 10 years old, and then Isaac Asimov’s The Foundation series. To be nominated does demonstrate certain recognition by peers,’ says Bhatia, 29.
‘I read my first sci-fi book, Hobbit, when I was 10 years old, and then Isaac Asimov’s The Foundation series. To be nominated does demonstrate certain recognition by peers,’ says Bhatia, 29.

“The awards have always been open to works published anywhere in the world and in any language. However, to gain recognition it must be possible for people to participate fully in the international science fiction community,” says Kevin Standlee, member of the Hugo Awards Marketing Committee of the WSFS. “The Internet has made that much easier. Mondal’s book was published by a small press based in Australia, but is easily available to readers in North America and Europe. That would not have been possible 20 years ago.”

Indian authors have been recognised by other science fiction awards in the past, Subramanian adds.

“Amitav Ghosh won the Arthur C Clarke award for The Calcutta Chromosome [in 1997], and in the last couple of years an essay by Vandana Singh on Ghosh’s book, The Great Derangement, was shortlisted for the BSFA [British Science Fiction Association] award, and Indrapramit Das’s The Devourers was shortlisted for a Crawford award,” Subramanian says.

SHARE THIS ARTICLE ON
app
Close
Kangris: A traditional portable and movable heater that Kashmiris keep in their warm woollen cloak to keep themselves warm in the frosty winters.(ANI)
Kangris: A traditional portable and movable heater that Kashmiris keep in their warm woollen cloak to keep themselves warm in the frosty winters.(ANI)

'Kangri' sales go up as cold grips Kashmir valley

ANI
PUBLISHED ON JAN 16, 2021 11:00 AM IST
As the intense cold grips north India, people in Jammu and Kashmir are keeping themselves warm with 'Kangris'.
Close
Delhi Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia on Friday launched "Street Theatre and Performing Arts Fellowship" scheme to give artists an opportunity to showcase their craft, thereby developing a taste for art and culture among the people of the city.(Unsplash)
Delhi Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia on Friday launched "Street Theatre and Performing Arts Fellowship" scheme to give artists an opportunity to showcase their craft, thereby developing a taste for art and culture among the people of the city.(Unsplash)

Delhi government launches fellowship scheme for artists

PTI
UPDATED ON JAN 16, 2021 09:58 AM IST
Delhi Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia on Friday launched "Street Theatre and Performing Arts Fellowship" scheme to give artists an opportunity to showcase their craft, thereby developing a taste for art and culture among the people of the city.
Close
This artist's rendering provided by MASS Design Group illustrates a proposed monument entitled "The Embrace," consisting of four 22-foot-high intertwined bronze arms. As cities and states continue to grapple with the legacy of controversial monuments, Boston is moving forward with a major effort commemorating Martin Luther King Jr. and Coretta Scott King. Organizers are building what they say will be the country's largest memorial dedicated to racial equity at the site of a 1965 civil rights rally that MLK led on the city's historic Boston Common.(Associated Press)
This artist's rendering provided by MASS Design Group illustrates a proposed monument entitled "The Embrace," consisting of four 22-foot-high intertwined bronze arms. As cities and states continue to grapple with the legacy of controversial monuments, Boston is moving forward with a major effort commemorating Martin Luther King Jr. and Coretta Scott King. Organizers are building what they say will be the country's largest memorial dedicated to racial equity at the site of a 1965 civil rights rally that MLK led on the city's historic Boston Common.(Associated Press)

Martin Luther King, wife Coretta's meeting place to get $9.5 million memorial

AP
PUBLISHED ON JAN 15, 2021 10:10 PM IST
A major memorial honoring Martin Luther King Jr. and Coretta Scott King is moving forward in Boston, where they met and studied in the 1950s.
Close
On the occasion of Army Day, an artist has prepared a model of an Indian army tank using 2,256 matchsticks on Friday.(ANI)
On the occasion of Army Day, an artist has prepared a model of an Indian army tank using 2,256 matchsticks on Friday.(ANI)

Odisha: Artist prepares Indian army tank model using matchsticks

ANI
PUBLISHED ON JAN 15, 2021 05:27 PM IST
On the occasion of Army Day, an artist has prepared a model of an Indian army tank using 2,256 matchsticks on Friday.
Close
Painting for the original cover of "The Blue Lotus" (Lotus Bleu) Tintin comic book (1936), is displayed before being auctioned by Artcurial in Paris, France January 13, 2021.(Reuters)
Painting for the original cover of "The Blue Lotus" (Lotus Bleu) Tintin comic book (1936), is displayed before being auctioned by Artcurial in Paris, France January 13, 2021.(Reuters)

Tintin comic book art by Herge breaks auction record at $3.1 million

AP
PUBLISHED ON JAN 15, 2021 05:18 PM IST
The 1936 work in Chinese ink, gouache and watercolor was destined as a cover for “The Blue Lotus,” the fifth volume of the adventures of Tintin, a young reporter created by Herge.
Close
Also included in the $100 ticket is a tour of Presley's jet and a walk through the entertainment complex, which houses exhibits and artifacts related to Presley.(Pixabay)
Also included in the $100 ticket is a tour of Presley's jet and a walk through the entertainment complex, which houses exhibits and artifacts related to Presley.(Pixabay)

Elvis Presley's Graceland starting virtual tours

AP, Memphis, Tennessee
PUBLISHED ON JAN 15, 2021 03:20 PM IST
Elvis Presley's Graceland is now offering online tours for fans around the world, including those who can't travel to the Tennessee tourist attraction during the coronavirus pandemic.
Close
The glowing face of one of Venezuela’s greatest athletes seems to invigorate a corner of the country’s decaying capital, a splash of color and inspiration for increasingly grim times.(AP)
The glowing face of one of Venezuela’s greatest athletes seems to invigorate a corner of the country’s decaying capital, a splash of color and inspiration for increasingly grim times.(AP)

Venezuelan street artist seeks to inspire

AP, Caracas, Venezuela
PUBLISHED ON JAN 15, 2021 01:28 PM IST
Wolfgang Salazar has gained increasing fame for his spray-painted murals of Venezuelans — heroes and everyday folk alike — at a time when the pandemic and economic hardship weigh upon his fellow citizens.
Close
A kolam is an Indian art form of geometric patterns, used as a sign of welcome.(ANI)
A kolam is an Indian art form of geometric patterns, used as a sign of welcome.(ANI)

Indian diaspora to welcome Biden, Harris with kolam tiles on inauguration day

ANI, Washington [us]
PUBLISHED ON JAN 15, 2021 01:10 PM IST
To welcome the US President-elect Joe Biden and Vice-President-elect Kamala Harris on inauguration day, the Indian diaspora is making thousands of kolam tiles at US Capitol to help heal the divide.
Close
Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan would dedicate the first phase of Kerala Arts and Crafts Village at Vellar near Kovalam on January 16 to promote and showcase the vibrant art and cultural heritage of the state.(Unsplash)
Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan would dedicate the first phase of Kerala Arts and Crafts Village at Vellar near Kovalam on January 16 to promote and showcase the vibrant art and cultural heritage of the state.(Unsplash)

Kerala CM to dedicate Arts & Crafts Village at Vellar near Kovalam on January 16

PTI
UPDATED ON JAN 15, 2021 10:11 AM IST
Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan would dedicate the first phase of Kerala Arts and Crafts Village at Vellar near Kovalam on January 16 to promote and showcase the vibrant art and cultural heritage of the state.
Close
The event, to be held here at The Pink Lotus Academia on January 17, will witness performances by noted vocalist Ujwal Nagar and Sitarist Adnan Khan.(Unsplash )
The event, to be held here at The Pink Lotus Academia on January 17, will witness performances by noted vocalist Ujwal Nagar and Sitarist Adnan Khan.(Unsplash )

Music festival to bring back baithak-style classical singing

PTI, New Delhi
PUBLISHED ON JAN 14, 2021 05:59 PM IST
The third edition of 'Swaradhyay' will aim to bring back the culture of 'baithak'-style Hindustani classical music and pay tributes to eminent musicians late Pt. Nikhil Bannerji and late Shri Prashant Thakur.
Close
Addressing the event, Gandhi said it was quite a lovely experience to see Tamil culture, history in action.(Unsplash)
Addressing the event, Gandhi said it was quite a lovely experience to see Tamil culture, history in action.(Unsplash)

Tamil culture, history, language essential for India's future, says Rahul Gandhi

ANI, Madurai (tamil Nadu) [india]
PUBLISHED ON JAN 14, 2021 05:03 PM IST
Tamil culture, history and language are essential for the future of India and are needed to be respected, said Congress leader Rahul Gandhi on who is in Madurai to attend the traditional bull-taming sport, 'Jallikattu', and celebrate Pongal.
Close
At the end of the Brexit transition period, galleries and collectors in London had to decide whether to stick with the U.K. or ship their works into the EU before the deadline.(Pixabay)
At the end of the Brexit transition period, galleries and collectors in London had to decide whether to stick with the U.K. or ship their works into the EU before the deadline.(Pixabay)

Millions of dollars of artworks left UK before Brexit cutoff

Bloomberg, United Kingdom
PUBLISHED ON JAN 14, 2021 04:11 PM IST
Among the thousands of trucks backed up in Dover last month trying to get across the Channel, one was carrying a painting by Henri Matisse. A piece by the Argentine-born artist Lucio Fontana was also in the queue, along with tens of millions of dollars of other artworks.
Close
Archaeologists have discovered the world's oldest known cave painting: a life-sized picture of a wild pig that was made at least 45,500 years ago in Indonesia. (Griffith University)
Archaeologists have discovered the world's oldest known cave painting: a life-sized picture of a wild pig that was made at least 45,500 years ago in Indonesia. (Griffith University)

World’s oldest cave painting found in Indonesia, dates back around 45,500 years

PTI
PUBLISHED ON JAN 14, 2021 01:17 PM IST
World’s oldest known cave painting found in Indonesia
Close
In this Thursday, Nov. 2, 2017 file photo, people visit the exhibition 'Gurlitt : Status Report' at the Bundeskunsthalle museum in Bonn, Germany. German authorities say they have have now returned all 14 works from the art trove, accumulated by late collector Cornelius Gurlitt and so far were proven to have been looted under Nazi rule, to their heirs.(AP)
In this Thursday, Nov. 2, 2017 file photo, people visit the exhibition 'Gurlitt : Status Report' at the Bundeskunsthalle museum in Bonn, Germany. German authorities say they have have now returned all 14 works from the art trove, accumulated by late collector Cornelius Gurlitt and so far were proven to have been looted under Nazi rule, to their heirs.(AP)

Germany says it has handed over 14 works from 'Nazi looted' Gurlitt art trove

AP
PUBLISHED ON JAN 14, 2021 01:04 PM IST
German authorities have now handed over all 14 works from the art trove accumulated by late collector Cornelius Gurlitt that so far were proven to have been looted under Nazi rule.
Close
In a bid to revive centuries-old Kashmiri art form known as "Ladishah", Syed Areej Safvi, a 25-year-old woman hailing from Jammu and Kashmir, performs the traditional folk ballad to tell tales in a satirical and humorous way.(ANI)
In a bid to revive centuries-old Kashmiri art form known as "Ladishah", Syed Areej Safvi, a 25-year-old woman hailing from Jammu and Kashmir, performs the traditional folk ballad to tell tales in a satirical and humorous way.(ANI)

Kashmir woman attempts to revive traditional folk ballad

ANI
UPDATED ON JAN 14, 2021 11:37 AM IST
In a bid to revive centuries-old Kashmiri art form known as "Ladishah", Syed Areej Safvi, a 25-year-old woman hailing from Jammu and Kashmir, performs the traditional folk ballad to tell tales in a satirical and humorous way.
Close
SHARE
Story Saved
OPEN APP