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Readers are demanding a young adult fiction category at the Hugo Awards

Fans can have a say in what the new YA book award will be called.


Gavia Baker-Whitelaw

Internet Culture

Posted on Oct 26, 2016   Updated on May 25, 2021, 5:27 pm CDT

After 63 years, the Hugo Awards can feel like an immutable fixture on the sci-fi/fantasy fandom landscape. But as recent controversies have shown, the Hugos are having to change with the times.

The latest development is a campaign for the awards to introduce a prize for young adult fiction, much like how the “graphic story” (comics) category was added in 2009, or the “fancast” category was added in 2012. The Hugos have actually been adding new categories steadily since 1953, and it looks like YA might be the next.

In the classically bureaucratic style of the Hugos and Worldcon, the YA award campaign was organized by a committee resulting in an in-depth report, and a motion discussed by the World Science Fiction Society at this year’s convention.

The proposal inspired a positive response at Worldcon, with one caveat. The award can’t be an official Hugo, because the Hugo fiction awards are already organized by length: novel, novella, short story, and so on. So, if you’re a sci-fi/fantasy fan with strong views on the topic, you have until November 15 to submit an idea for the award’s name.

Although there has been some pushback on social media (which can be said of literally any discussion in the SF/F community), the arguments for a YA award are obvious. YA fiction is hugely popular and influential among SF/F fans of all ages, but the Hugos tend to favor adult fiction unless people nominate a huge bestseller like Harry Potter. A separate award gives YA authors a chance to shine and receive the recognition they deserve.

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*First Published: Oct 26, 2016, 10:03 am CDT