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Celebrating Diversity in Science Fiction-Nigerian Author’s Story Published by Pakistani-Born Publisher Wins Nebula Award

Oghenechovwe Donald Ekpeki

“O2 Arena,” written by a Nigerian, edited by an Australian, and published by a Pakistani-born publisher exemplifies the changing landscape in science fiction

ROCKVILLE, MARYLAND, USA, June 2, 2022 / -- "O2 Arena" by Oghenechovwe Donald Ekpeki recently won the Nebula Award for best novelette during the 57th Annual Nebula Awards Ceremony. Ekpeki is an African speculative fiction writer who lives in Lagos, Nigeria.

The novelette was originally picked up by Lezli Robyn, the Australian editor of Galaxy’s Edge magazine and subsequently published in issue 53 (November 2021). Galaxy’s Edge magazine is published by Shahid Mahmud, a Pakistani-born publisher who runs a small press based in Maryland.

The Nebula Award is, arguably, one of the most prestigious awards in science fiction literature in the United States, with the winner being selected by professional peers.

Recently, professional organizations are making a huge push to recognize deserving stories by diverse writers from different backgrounds. The recognition of “O2 Arena” is an indication of the growing inclusivity of the genre, which celebrates major bestsellers and award winners by a growing number of minority authors. The fact that this was a novelette written by a Nigerian author living in Lagos, edited by an Australian, and published by a Pakistani-born publisher, is quite remarkable.

Ekpeki is also an editor of increasing notability, as well as an author. He started writing science fiction while pursuing his law degree at the University of Lagos, and his first piece of fiction, “The Witching Hour,” written in 2019, won the Nommo award, presented by The African Speculative Fiction Society.

Lezli Robyn is an Australian author and editor, and serves as the editor-in-chief of Galaxy’s Edge magazine. She grew up near Melbourne in Victoria, Australia.

Shahid Mahmud grew up in Pakistan and created a publishing company in Maryland in 2006. He co-created Galaxy’s Edge magazine with award-winning author, Mike Resnick, in 2013.

You can read “O2 Arena” at

The novelette is currently a finalist for the Nommo and Hugo awards.

Shahid Mahmud
Arc Manor
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