Nisi Shawl

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Nisi Shawl
Born 1955
Kalamazoo, Michigan
Nationality American
Ethnicity African-American
Alma mater Residential College, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor
Genres Speculative fiction
Notable award(s) 2008 James Tiptree, Jr. Award

Nisi Shawl (born 1955) is an African-American writer and journalist. She is best known as a writer of science fiction and fantasy short stories.[1]


Shawl is the co-author (with Cynthia Ward) of Writing the Other: Bridging Cultural Differences for Successful Fiction, a book derived from the authors' workshop of the same name, in which participants explore techniques to help them write credible characters outside their own cultural experience. Her short stories have appeared in Asimov's SF Magazine, the Infinite Matrix, Strange Horizons, Semiotext(e) and numerous other magazines and anthologies.[1]

Among the writers who influence her work, she has named Colette and Raymond Chandler.[2]

Shawl is a member of the Science Fiction Writers of America and a 1992 graduate of the Clarion West Writers Workshop. She is a board member of Clarion West and one of the founders of the Carl Brandon Society. Her stories have been shortlisted for the Theodore Sturgeon Award, the Gaylactic Spectrum Award, and the Carl Brandon Society Parallax Award, and Writing the Other received special mention for the James Tiptree, Jr. Award.[3] In 2008, she won the James Tiptree, Jr. Award for Filter House.[4] In 2009 her novella "Good Boy" was nominated for a World Fantasy Award.[5]

In 2009, she donated her archive to the department of Rare Books and Special Collections at Northern Illinois University.[6]

In 2011 she was the Guest of Honor at WisCon 35.[7]

Personal life[edit]

Shawl was born in Kalamazoo, Michigan. She started attending the Residential College of the University of Michigan in 1971 at the age of 16, but did not graduate.[8] She lives in Seattle, Washington, where she reviews books for the Seattle Times as a freelance contributor.[1][2][9]

Select bibliography[edit]


  • "I Was a Teenage Genetic Engineer," Semiotext(e) SF, NY, NY, April, 1989, Columbia University.
  • "The Rainses'," Asimov's Science Fiction Magazine, April, 1995.
  • "The Rainses'," Isaac Asimov's Ghosts, NY, NY, August, 1995, Ace.
  • "The Pragmatical Princess," Asimov's Science Fiction Magazine, January, 1999.
  • "At the Huts of Ajala," Dark Matter: A Century of Speculative Fiction from the African Diaspora, NY, NY, July, 2000, Warner Books.
  • "Shiomah's Land," Asimov's Science Fiction Magazine, March, 2001.
  • "Vapors," Wet: More Aqua Erotica, Mary Anne Mohanraj (editor), Three Rivers Press, NY, NY.
  • "Deep End," So Long Been Dreaming: Postcolonial Science Fiction and Fantasy, edited by Nalo Hopkinson and Uppinder Mehan, 2004, Arsenal Pulp Press, Vancouver, BC, Canada.
  • "Maggies," Dark Matter: Reading the Bones, edited by Sheree R. Thomas, 2004, NY: Warner Books.
  • "Matched," The Infinite Matrix. (Excerpt from the novel The Blazing World, co-sponsored by the Office of Arts and Cultural Affairs.) May 2005.
  • "Cruel Sistah," Asimov's SF Magazine, October/November 2005; Year's Best Fantasy & Horror #19, St. Martin's Press, NY, NY, August 2006.


  • Writing the Other: A Practical Guide, with co-author Cynthia Ward, Aqueduct Press, Seattle, WA, December 2005.
  • "To Jack Kerouac, to Make Much of Space and Time," Talking Back: Epistolary Fantasies, L. Timmel Duchamp (editor), Aqueduct Press, Seattle, WA, March, 2006.


  1. ^ a b c Nisi Shawl: Home Page
  2. ^ a b Reflection's Edge
  3. ^ James Tiptree, Jr: 2005. [1]. Retrieved 2009-4-27.
  4. ^ Tiptree Winners Announced. [2]. Retrieved 2009-4-27.
  5. ^ World Fantasy Convention (2010). "Award Winners and Nominees". Retrieved 4 Feb 2011. 
  6. ^ Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America (SFWA) Collection, Northern Illinois University
  7. ^ WisCon main page accessed May 27, 2011
  8. ^ Autobiography
  9. ^ Articles by Nisi Shawl, Seattle Times

External links[edit]