On Being Nominated for the Nebula and Bram Stoker Awards

My story “The Vaporization Enthalpy of a Peculiar Pakistani Family” has been nominated for both the Nebula Award for Best Short Story and the Bram Stoker Award for Superior Achievement in Short Fiction.

I remember, as a 20-year-old, sitting at my computer in college and Googling the Bram Stoker and Nebula Awards. I’d see them on book covers and daydream about being on those ballots. But it was a dream, right? Real life doesn’t work that way. You might as well dream about leaving your mundane life behind and hitchhiking to the moon.

Except that it did happen.

A few years back, I entered a small hotel room at the 2012 World Horror Convention in Salt Lake City, where Mort Castle, a writer whom I hadn’t read then, was teaching a class. It was a 2-day session and on the second day Mort made us read aloud what we’d written in response to his prompts. I was very nervous, had never taken a real writing class before, and had never read my work in public. But I did and after class was over Mort came to me, patted my shoulder and said, “You’re close. You’re very close.”

That was April 2012. This is Feb, 2015. Less than 3 years since I began writing professionally.

What strange lives we lead. Had you told me back then I had this to look forward to, I’d have laughed in your face and turned and run away.

So. . . all aspiring writers out there, especially South Asian writers and all persons of color: Never stop dreaming. Dream big. Dream strong and clear and loud and lovingly. What is there to stop any of us? Only fear, right? Go ahead and exorcise it, my friends. Hard work pays off.

Believe it.


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