The funny thing about living in Europe is that I blearily woke up this morning, made a tea to try and wake up while still rubbing my eyes, and while I was making a bottle of milk for my youngest I saw that my twitter mentions had exploded.
Which is basically how I found out that my gender-swapped space opera Sherlock Holmes retelling The Tea Master and the Detective (set in the Xuya Universe and published by Subterranean Press and by JABberwocky) had won a Nebula Award for Best Novella (the awards were in Los Angeles so 9 hours behind me).
Below is the full text of my acceptance speech as kindly delivered for me by my good friend Fran Wilde, acceptor extraordinaire:
That was not expected.
I would like to thank Fran Wilde for accepting this award on my behalf, my editor Yanni Kuznia, Geralyn Lance, Bill Schafer, Gwenda Bond and everyone at Subterranean Press who worked on this book; my cover artists and designers Maurizio Manzieri, Gail Cross at Desert Isle Design and Dirk Berger, my agent John Berlyne as well as the JABberwocky team (Joshua Bilmes, Lisa Rodgers, Patrick Disselhorst) for the non-American edition. To my friends and supporters: Likhain, Zen Cho, Alis Rasmussen, Tade Thompson, Vida Cruz, Victor Fernando R. Ocampo, Cindy Pon, Kari Sperring, Liz Bourke, D Franklin, Zoe Johnson, Jeannette Ng, Nene Ormes, Ken Liu, Elizabeth Bear, Stephanie Burgis, Alessa Hinlo, Inksea, and Mary Robinette Kowal, as well as everyone who spread the word, nominated this and voted for it.
I wrote this book for fun: it was a story that mashed together two of my childhood idols, Sherlock Holmes and Judge Dee, one that came with no deadlines or expectations attached to it. One thing I realised was that it’s easy for writing–for any writing–to feel frivolous and self-indulgent. There are always more important things to do, especially as a mother of colour–children, family, day job, politics in an environment that feels like it’s swinging back to darker days, with people stopping me in the streets and telling me to go back home. It’s so easy to take the path of least resistance and put writing last, to always find something more important that needs to be done.
It’s so easy to choke for lack of self-care.
The truth, of course, is that writing matters. It is frivolous, it is self-indulgent, but it is also necessary. It is breathing space and act of resistance and escapism on my own terms. Stories shaped me as a child and continue to shape me as an adult. And it is a great and potent reminder of how far this particular one has gone to be accepting this award, now.
(picture thanks to Fran Wilde)