Hopkinson is the recipient of the John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer and the Ontario Arts Council Foundation Award for an Emerging Writer. Brown Girl in the Ring was nominated for the Philip K. Dick Award in 1998, and received the Locus Award for Best New Writer. Midnight Robber was shortlisted for the James R. Tiptree Jr. Memorial Award in 2000 and nominated for the Hugo Award for Best Novel in 2001. Skin Folk received the World Fantasy Award and the Sunburst Award for Canadian Literature of the Fantastic in 2003. The Salt Roads received the Gaylactic Spectrum Award for positive exploration of queer issues in speculative fiction for 2004, presented at the 2005 Gaylaxicon. Hopkinson is the daughter of Guyanese poet Abdur Rahman Slade Hopkinson.
Hopkinson has edited two fiction anthologies (Whispers From the Cotton Tree Root: Caribbean Fabulist Fiction and Mojo: Conjure Stories). She was the co-editor with Uppinder Mehan for the anthology So Long Been Dreaming: Postcolonial Visions of the Future, and with Geoff Ryman for Tesseracts 9.
Hopkinson defended George Elliott Clarke's novel Whylah Falls on the CBC's Canada Reads 2002. She was the curator of Six Impossible Things, an audio series of Canadian fantastical fiction on CBC Radio One.
Hopkinson has a Masters of Arts degree in Writing Popular Fiction from Seton Hill University, where she studied with science fiction writer James Morrow as her mentor and instructor. Hopkinson teaches writing at various programs around the world. She has been a writer-in-residence at Clarion East, Clarion West and Clarion South. She is one of the founding members of the Carl Brandon Society.
On a personal note, Nalo is one of the many writers whose generosity and willingness to share her knowledge/experience is a beautiful thing to see in action. Nalo's work is stretching the boundaries of magical realism and science fiction. Her work is truly avant-garde because as she extends the definition of these terms, she pays homage to writers such as Octavia Butler who have made her work possible and in that respect she is a true inheritor. Nicholas Laughlin put it best when he said that Nalo is"working in a genre usually associated with white teenage men" which makes her work (given the competition) even more remarkable.