Barrelhouse Magazine is thrilled to announce that the 2018 Amplifier Award goes to FIYAH, a magazine of black speculative fiction. We received 110 applicants from 9 different countries, and were blown away by the variety of emerging magazines, their ambition, and their quality. Though there were many worthy applicants, we chose FIYAH because we admired their commitment to financially supporting writers, as well as their efforts to create a more inclusive space in the writing community.
The Amplifer award, co-sponsored by Submittable, is a one-time $1500 grant to an emerging literary organization, as well as a free Submittable account that will allow the winner to more easily and affordably process submissions.
FIYAH’s mission is to amplify the voices of black speculative fiction authors in the field of short form Science Fiction and Fantasy through publication of their work and programs that help them become better writers. The genesis for FIYAH was a 2016 report from Fireside Fiction Magazine, titled "Antiblack Racism in Speculative Fiction." This report revealed that only 2% of all stories published by Science Fiction and Fantasy magazines in 2015 were written by black authors. FIYAH was formed in September 2016 as a direct effort to increase publication rates of black SFF authors in the field.
In their application, FIYAH identified a clear goal of using this money to help raise both their visibility and their pay rates for authors, so that they can achieve their goal of paying a “professional” rate (as defined by The Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America). They also have a stated goal of continuing to build a community of black SFF authors through a number of publishing initiatives and events. FIYAH’s executive editors are Justina Ireland and Troy L. Wiggins.
Troy Wiggins says: “We've long had goals to work on connecting black authors to learning opportunities and writing workshops. The award will both help us in sustaining the magazine and in our development and support efforts for emerging black authors who want to make their mark in the field of short SFF. Long-term, we want the magazine and magazine staff to work hand in hand with our desires to create learning opportunities for black SFF authors, and we now have space to play around with some of those ideas, as well as exploring other avenues to get Fiyah Magazine to more readers.”
Submittable’s Michael Fitzgerald adds, "We're grateful to the Barrelhouse Amplifier and especially FIYAH for letting us support their mission of publishing and promoting SFF black authors in this small way. We can't wait to see what they do."
Barrelhouse is fortunate to be in a position to offer this kind of financial support to newer journals, and we look forward to working closely with FIYAH in the future.