20 best genre fiction writers from other countries to expand your horizons

9 of 21

13. Nalo Hopkinson

It’s true that Nalo Hopkinson is currently living and working within the United States, like a few of her fellow writers on this list. But she was born in Jamaica and lived in Canada before that, and her work contains themes that are inextricably linked to the history, future and culture of the Caribbean islands.

Hopkinson was born in Jamaica and spent her childhood there, in addition to Guyana,
Trinidad and Canada. Her parents were both literary people — Hopkinson’s mother worked in libraries, while her father was a writer, actor and professor who taught English and Latin. It’s little surprise, then, that their daughter might grow up with similar interests. Hopkinson grew up reading literary works by Homer and Kurt Vonnegut, alongside the Afro-Caribbean literature and folk tales around her.

Hopkinson began a promising career as a writer, but illnesses, including severe anemia, derailed her progress and even left her homeless for two years. Thankfully, however, UC Riverside recognized her talent and hard work, hiring her as a professor of creative writing in 2011. Her academic work, along with her literary career, focuses on magical realism, science fictio, and fantasy.

Midnight Robber

Hopkinson has published many works of fiction, but it’s hard to go wrong with one of her best known works: Midnight Robber. The events of the book take place in a far future society, where people can travel between planets and even dimensions with greater ease than we can do today. Additionally, practically everyone is injected with “nanomites” at a young age, which allows them to connect with a vast internet-adjacent system called “Granny Nanny.”

Midnight Robber’s protagonist is Tan-Tan Habib, who begins the story as a young girl living on the planet Toussaint. Her planet has been colonized by Caribbean people, and the culture and tales of this Earth-based society remains strong. After her father kills her mother’s lover, he takes Tan-Tan and flees to an alternate dimension.

As Tan-Tan grows up, her life grows increasingly fraught and violent. Midnight Robber is certainly not a lightweight or light-hearted work of fiction. However, it is beautifully written and so vital and fascinating that it is well worth your time.