The scifi novella that just won the Hugo award had present day inspiration:
My own situation inspired the plot- I left my rather close-knitted Nigerian American family in Chicago to go teach at the University at Buffalo, NY. It was a contentious departure. Writing Binti was a way of exploring my own fears of making the wrong choice (which it wasn't). I'd also never written a story set in space because space scares me. Facing and conquering fear seems to be at the heart of the novella's inspiration . . . . Also, I have always loved the Himba people of Namibia, so I knew I wanted to write about them at some point. And lastly, for some reason, I was inspired to write murderous aliens when I saw a sweet little blue jellyfish in a lagoon while in the strange awesome country of the United Arab Emirates.