Hello, and welcome to the #TheWomanAlchemist monthly feature with N. K. Jemisin: A Trailblazer in Speculative Fiction.
As September 19th approaches, I want to celebrate the birthday of one of the most influential and groundbreaking voices in modern fiction: N. K. Jemisin. Jemisin has shattered glass ceilings and redefined the genre, all while inspiring countless women and writers worldwide.
N. K. Jemisin: Life in Brief
Nora K. Jemisin, known to her readers as N. K. Jemisin, was born on September 19th. Her life’s journey has been nothing short of impressive. From an early age, she exhibited a passion for storytelling, nurturing her imagination with the rich tapestry of science fiction and fantasy literature. However, she quickly realised that the worlds she loved to explore rarely reflected her experiences or the diverse world she knew.
But this realisation fueled her determination to become a writer who would challenge the status quo. Therefore, with perseverance and dedication to her craft, she embarked on a literary journey that would see her become the first African American woman to win the Hugo Award for Best Novel not once, but three times consecutively, for her groundbreaking Broken Earth trilogy.
Here is a list of some of her notable books with summaries describing themes and lessons:
- The Inheritance Trilogy (2008-2011):
- “The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms” (2010): This book introduces readers to a world where gods walk among mortals, and power struggles define nations. It explores themes of oppression, colonialism, and the consequences of power.
- “The Broken Kingdoms” (2010): The sequel follows a blind artist in a world where gods are dying and new ones emerge. It delves into themes of identity, disability, and the impact of change on society.
- “The Kingdom of Gods” (2011): The final book in the trilogy focuses on a godling trying to fit into the mortal world. Themes include identity, power balance, and societies’ evolution.
- The Dreamblood Duology (2012-2013):
- “The Killing Moon” (2012): This novel is set in a land where priests use dreams to heal and manipulate. Themes revolve around ethics, power’s cost, and religious authority’s consequences.
- “The Shadowed Sun” (2012): The second book explores themes of revolution, cultural change, and the price of progress as the world transitions from old traditions to new ideologies.
Hugo Award Winners
- The Broken Earth Trilogy (2015-2017):
- “The Fifth Season” (2015): Set in a world wracked by apocalyptic geological events, the story follows characters with the power to control the earth. Themes include environmental disaster, systemic oppression, and the resilience of the human spirit.
- “The Obelisk Gate” (2016): The second instalment continues to explore themes of family, survival, and the destructive power of prejudice in a dying world.
- “The Stone Sky” (2017): The final book in the trilogy addresses themes of reconciliation, the cycle of history, and the search for hope and redemption in a world on the brink of collapse.
- How Long ’til Black Future Month? (2018):
- This short story collection touches on various fiction themes, exploring issues of race, identity, and societal change.
Jemisin’s writing often centres on social justice, oppression, and the strength of marginalised communities. Moreover, she speaks to women from all walks of life. And she inspires them to use their voices to challenge injustice.
Similarly, Jemisin’s vivid, immersive worlds are a canvas for powerful parables, making her work a touchstone for those who aspire to create meaningful literature.
But N. K. Jemisin’s impact extends beyond the pages of her novels. Firstly, she has opened doors for countless writers who previously struggled to find their place in the genre. Secondly, she embodies the spirit of resilience and determination. Finally, she reminds all women that their voices matter. Because all stories are worth telling. What about you? Have you got a story to tell?
As we celebrate N. K. Jemisin’s forthcoming birthday on September 19th, I want to honour her remarkable contributions to literature. Finally, moreover, I want to take inspiration from her journey. Because I now feel more motivated than ever to break barriers and challenge conventions. But especially use creativity to change the world.
Which one of her books is your favourite? If you haven’t read any, why not? Why not start with the award-winning trilogy?
A few of the previous #TheWomanAlchemist blogs celebrating women writers:
- Georgette Heyer
- Barbara Cartland
- Harper Lee
- Virginia Woolf
- Jane Austen
- Agatha Christie
- Daphne Du Maurier
- Mary Wollstonecraft
- Pam Grout
- Simone de Beauvoir