This week: Women Authors in Fantasy and Sci-FiEdited by: Dawn Embers
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Fantasy Newsletter by Dawn
As the month of March is Women's History Month, we are taking a look at some very strong women who have made waves in the genres of fantasy and science fiction. This newsletter discusses a few of many and lists some books/series to consider reading.
As the month of March comes to a close for 2020, with all of the chaos going on around the world, I didn't want to miss the opportunity to give some light and focus to a particular topic beyond quarantine and the great toilet paper wars going on right now. Don't worry, I have won't miss the quarantine and government topics but that will be for next newsletter. Right now, let's instead discuss Women's History Month because there are plenty of strong women and great examples when it comes to speculative fiction.
As many of you may know, as I hope most do know, March is Women's History Month. This is a month where we take time to commemorate and celebrate the vital role of women in history. Many genres have had an uphill battle in the past when it came to women getting their works published. It wasn't so long ago that to be taken seriously, women had to use pseudonyms or at the very least just the first letters of their names in order to have their books published. Now, we recognize the women who lead the way and those that follow showcasing both the women behind the pages and the ones in the stories. Here are just a few female authors I found during my research and listed below each little bio are two examples of books and series they have written. There are many more to discover for those who have and make the time to find things to read.
An American writer known for her science fiction and fantasy, but she also delved into both historical fiction and contemporary fiction. Often referred to as the "Grande Dame of Science Fiction and Fantasy" & a “Master Storyteller”, she experienced many firsts within the writing community. Norton became the first woman to receive the Gandalf Grand Master Award from the World Science Fiction Society and the title of Science Fiction Writers of America Grand Master. She was also the first woman inducted by the Science Fiction and Fantasy Hall of Fame.
The Witch World Saga
The Solar Queen Series
An American-Irish writer mostly known for the Dragonriders of Pern science fiction series but has many others that she produced including her first novel that was a sort of protest against what she saw as unrealistic portrayals of women in sci fi novels in the 50s & 60s. McCaffrey was the first woman to win the top 2 prizes for sci fi writing (the Hugo & Nebula awards). Her novels are known in particular for their portrayal of human resilience and survival. She was also Inducted into the Science Fiction Hall of Fame and has received many awards including the Damon Knight Memorial Grand Master Award, Robert A. Heinlein Award, Gandalf Award for Book-Length Fantasy, and the American Library Association’s Margaret A. Edwards Award for Lifetime Literary Achievement.
The Catteni Series
Dragonriders of Pern Series
Octavia E Butler
An African-American science fiction author known in particular for her writing's commentary on the far-reaching issues of sex, power and race. She is heralded as the both the “Godmother of Afrofuturism” and the “Grand Dame of Sci Fi.” Butler was one of very few first women of color in publishing. As multiple recipient of Hugo & Nebula awards, Butler became the first science fiction writer to ever receive a MacArthur Fellowship (an award often referred to as the “Genius Grant”) along with a number of other awards including the Lifetime Achievement Award in Writing from the PEN American Center. In 2019 Los Angeles Public Library opened the Octavia Lab named in Butler's honor.
Pattern Master Series
An American science fiction and fantasy author, Willis is known for her imagination, sharp wit and sense of humor while also not being afraid to delve into hard science. She has won 11 Hugo awards & 7 Nebula awards for both her novels & short stories, and has won more major awards than any other writer male or female. She was inducted into the Science Fiction Hall of Fame, and some of her other awards include the Damon Knight Memorial Grand Master Award, the John W. Campbell Memorial Award for Best Science Fiction Novel, and the Colorado Book Award for Science Fiction.
Oxford Time Travel Series
An American writer of young adult fantasy fiction, she is well known best for stories that feature young heroines.
She made a name for herself with her first book series that followed a young female going through the trials and triumphs of training to become the first female knight. Pierce won the Margaret A. Edwards Award from the Young Adult Library Services Association (YALSA) of the American Library Association in 2013, citing her two quartets Song of the Lioness and Protector of the Small (1999–2002). A television series is currently in the works set within the world of Tortall that may come out in the future though a date isn't currently set just yet.
Song of the Lioness Series
A Canadian poet, novelist, literary critic, essayist, inventor, teacher, and environmental activist. She is known in particular for her feminist works but also has written on a number of themes including identity, animal rights, ecology, politics and religion. Her writing is often taught in current English class curriculum and the most known, The Handmaid's Series is also even more mainstream as it became a television series. Atwood has been awarded numerous honorary degrees from a large variety of famed institutions including Oxford University and Cambridge University. Atwood is one of the founders of the Griffin Poetry Prize & Writers' Trust of Canada. She also won the Arthur C. Clarke Award, Franz Kafka Prize, & the Booker Prize along with many author awards and accolades.
The Handmaid Series
If you have time, check out these authors and many others. There are several blogs and web sites that list some of the top female authors in science fiction and fantasy. Check them out!
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“Well-behaved women seldom make history.” - Laurel Thatcher Ulrich
“She is water. Strong enough to drown you, soft enough to cleanse you, and deep enough to save you.” - Unknown
“Character cannot be developed in ease and quiet. Only through experience of trial and suffering can the soul be strengthened, ambition inspired, and success achieved.” - Helen Keller
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