Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America
|Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America|
The cover of the SFWA's official publication, SFWA Bulletin no. 200 (Winter 2013).
|Headquarters||New York City|
|Region served||United States|
|Membership||Approx. 1,800 members|
Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America, or SFWA (// or //) is a nonprofit association of professional science fiction and fantasy writers in the United States. It was founded in 1965 by Damon Knight under the name Science Fiction Writers of America, Inc. and it retains the acronym SFWA after a very brief use of the variant SFFWA.
The SFWA's stated mission is to "inform, support, defend and advocate for our members". In 2013, the association drew public attention because of a controversy about sexism in its official publication, the SFWA Bulletin.
Membership and eligibility
SFWA has approximately 1,800 members as of 2013.
Most members live in the United States. Active membership is limited to professionally published authors in the genres of science fiction, fantasy, or horror; the minimum qualification is the sale of one novel or dramatic script, or three short stories, to venues with certain minimum circulations or pay rates. Associate membership is for professionally published authors who have not yet qualified for active membership. Affiliate memberships are available for science fiction and fantasy professionals who are not authors.
Authors, regardless of nationality or residence, must be professionally published in a qualifying market as listed by SFWA in order to become SFWA members. At present, all listed qualifying markets publish only in the English language.
Annually since 1965, SFWA members select by vote the Nebula Awards for best short story, novelette, novella, and novel published during the previous year, where the four categories are defined by numbers of words.
During the Nebula ceremony, SFWA also presents the annual Andre Norton Award since 2005 for best young adult novel. Not always annually there are also the Damon Knight Memorial Grand Master Award since 1975 for lifetime achievement in science fiction or fantasy, the Bradbury Award since 1992 for best dramatic presentation, the Author Emeritus title since 1995 to a senior writer whose major impact was long ago or overlooked. Since 2009 the Solstice Award which may be posthumous recognizes lifetime contributions to the science fiction and fantasy field.
SFWA published a quarterly magazine called the Bulletin. SFWA Members received the Bulletin as part of their membership, but anyone could subscribe. The Bulletin carried nonfiction articles of general interest to writers, especially genre writers, and reprinted one Nebula Award-winning story per issue. It accepted submissions, for which the pay was 7 cents a word.
The most recent editor of the Bulletin was Jean Rabe. She resigned the post on 5 June 2013 in the course of a controversy about sexism in the Bulletin. More than 50 authors wrote blog posts in objection to comments by longtime contributors Mike Resnick and Barry N. Malzberg that included references to "lady editors" and "lady writers" who were "beauty pageant beautiful" or a "knock out", an article by C. J. Henderson praising Barbie for maintaining "quiet dignity the way a woman should", and the "exploitative" cover image of no. 200 of the Bulletin, depicting a woman in a scalemail bikini (shown above). Several authors used the occasion to speak out against sexism in science fiction genre circles more broadly. The controversy continued through Bulletin #202, which contained another column by Resnick and Malzberg, discussing the response to their earlier column. Their column framed that response as censorship, referring to their critics as "liberal fascists".
As a result of the controversy, SFWA president John Scalzi apologized to members, and the Bulletin was put on hiatus for up to six months to conduct a membership survey, a relaunch and a redesign.
SFWA sponsors the Writer Beware Blog, the public face of their Committee on Writing Scams, to expose problems and pitfalls that face aspiring writers. Writer Beware also receives sponsorship from the Mystery Writers of America. Its mission is to raise awareness of the prevalence of fraud and other questionable activities in and around the publishing industry.
As part of this mission, SFWA members submitted an 'unpublishable' manuscript to independent publishing house PublishAmerica, to test their claimed editorial rigor. When PublishAmerica offered to send them a contract to publish Atlanta Nights, they revealed the hoax, and PublishAmerica withdrew the contract offer. SFWA subsequently listed the book for sale through a Print On Demand service, with all profits to benefit their Emergency Medical Fund.
In 1982, Lisa Tuttle withdrew her short story "The Bone Flute" from the final Nebula ballot, to protest what she saw as excessive campaigning for awards and that voters did not receive copies of nominated works. Her withdrawal was sent after voting had been completed. When informed she had won, she contacted SFWA and told them she refused to accept it. She was told that her reasons for doing so would be announced. Her publisher accepted the award in her place, apparently with no knowledge of her withdrawal, and there was no mention of her objection.
- Damon Knight (1965–1967)
- Robert Silverberg (1967–1968)
- Alan E. Nourse (1968–1969)
- Gordon R. Dickson (1969–1971)
- James E. Gunn (1971–1972)
- Poul Anderson (1972–1973)
- Jerry Pournelle (1973–1974)
- Frederik Pohl (1974–1976)
- Andrew J. Offutt (1976–1978)
- Jack Williamson (1978–1980)
- Norman Spinrad (1980–1982)
- Marta Randall (1982–1984)
- Charles Sheffield (1984–1986)
- Jane Yolen (1986–1988)
- Greg Bear (1988–1990)
- Ben Bova (1990–1992)
- Joe Haldeman (1992–1994)
- Barbara Hambly (1994–1996)
- Michael Capobianco (1996–1998)
- Robert J. Sawyer (1998)
- Paul Levinson (1998–2001)
- Norman Spinrad (2001–2002)
- Sharon Lee (2002–2003)
- Catherine Asaro (2003–2005)
- Robin Wayne Bailey (2005–2007)
- Michael Capobianco (2007–2008)
- Russell Davis (2008–2010)
- John Scalzi (2010-2013)
- Steven Gould (2013- )
- "History and Statistics". Sfwa.org. 2009-03-26. Retrieved 2011-07-26.
- Flood, Alison (12 June 2013). "Science fiction authors attack sexism amid row over SFWA magazine". The Guardian. Retrieved 17 June 2013.
- "Who is Eligible?". Sfwa.org. Retrieved 2011-07-26.
- "The Locus Index to SF Awards: About the SFWA Grand Master Award". Locusmag.com. Retrieved 2011-07-26.
- "The Locus Index to SF Awards: SFWA Grand Master Award Winners By Year". Locusmag.com. Retrieved 2011-07-26.
- "The Locus Index to SF Awards: About the Other SFWA Awards". Locusmag.com. Retrieved 2011-07-26.
- Anders, Charlie Jane (6 June 2013). "The editor of SFWA's bulletin resigns over sexist articles". io9. Retrieved 7 June 2013.
- Griner, David (4 June 2013). "Will the Fantasy Genre Ever Grow Up and Ditch the Chainmail Bikini? Industry bulletin's cover sets off firestorm". Adweek. Retrieved 7 June 2013.
- Romano, Aja. "SFWA sexism rocks the science-fiction blogosphere". The Daily Dot.
- "Talk Radio Redux by Mike Resnick and Barry N. Malzberg". Retrieved 2013-07-17.
- Scalzi, John (2 June 2013). "Presidential Statement on the SFWA Bulletin". Retrieved 17 June 2013.
- "Plan for Moving Ahead with the Bulletin". SFWA. 13 June 2013. Retrieved 17 June 2013.
- Todd McCaffrey (1999), Dragonholder: The Life and Dreams (so far) of Anne McCaffrey, New York: Ballantine, p57. (Anne McCaffrey was the SFWA Secretary-Treasurer 1968–1970, responsible for production and distribution of the monthly SFWA Bulletin and SFWA Forum.)
- "Writer Beware ®". Sfwa.org. Retrieved 2011-07-26.
- John C. Snider (2005). "Ah, Schadenfreud!". Scifidimensions.com.
- "Author of Atlanta Nights". Travis Tea. Retrieved 2011-07-26.
- "Open Book Alliance". Open Book Alliance. Retrieved 2011-07-26.
- "Nebula Awards". Ansible 26. 1982-06. Retrieved 2009-08-07.