Kushner in 2013
|Born||October 6, 1955 (age 64)|
|Alma mater||Barnard College|
|Notable awards||1991 World Fantasy Award, 1991 Mythopoeic Award, and 2007 Locus Award for Best Fantasy Novel|
Ellen Kushner (born October 6, 1955) is an American writer of fantasy novels. From 1996 until 2010, she was the host of the radio program Sound & Spirit, produced by WGBH in Boston and distributed by Public Radio International.
Background and personal life
Kushner was born in Washington, D.C. and grew up in Cleveland, Ohio. She attended Bryn Mawr College and graduated from Barnard College. She lives in New York City with her wife and sometime collaborator, Delia Sherman. They held a wedding in 1996 and were legally married in Boston in 2004. Kushner identifies as bisexual.
Kushner's first books were five Choose Your Own Adventure gamebooks. During that period, she published her first novel, Swordspoint in 1987. A sequel set 18 years after Swordspoint, called The Privilege of the Sword, was published in July 2006, with a first hardcover edition published in late August 2006 by Small Beer Press. The Fall of the Kings (2002) (co-authored by Sherman) is set 40 years after Swordspoint. All three books are considered mannerpunk novels, and take place in a nameless imaginary capital city and its raffish district of Riverside, where swordsmen-for-hire ply their trade.
From 2011 to 2014 audiobook versions of all three novels were produced under the label of Neil Gaiman Presents. The Swordspoint adaptation won the 2013 Audie Award for Best Audio Drama, an Earphones Award from AudioFile, and the 2013 Communicator Award: Gold Award of Excellence (Audio). The adaptation of The Fall of the Kings won the 2014 Wilbur Award.
Kushner's second novel, Thomas the Rhymer, won the World Fantasy Award and the Mythopoeic Award in 1991. She has also published short stories and poetry in various anthologies, including The Year's Best Fantasy and Horror and The Borderland Series of urban fantasy anthologies for teenage readers.
In 1987, Kushner relocated from New York to Boston, and began working as a presenter in radio. She worked with public radio station WBGH-FM, first hosting its all-night radio program "Night Air". In 1989 she hosted the Nakamichi International Music Series for American Public Radio (now Public Radio International), and later produced three Jewish holiday specials with APR, Festival of Liberation: the Passover Story in World Music, The Door is Open: a Jewish High Holiday Meditation, and Beyond 1492.
Beginning in 1996, Kushner wrote, programmed and hosted the series "Sound & Spirit", produced by WGBH/PRI. "Sound & Spirit" was an hour-long weekly series "exploring the human spirit through music and ideas." Episodes featured folk, classical, and world music, with a wide variety of special guests including Grateful Dead drummer Mickey Hart, religious historian Elaine Pagels, and writer Neil Gaiman. "Sound & Spirit" remained on the air until 2010.
In 2002, she released a CD of her story The Golden Dreydl: A Klezmer Nutcracker, which uses music from Pyotr Tchaikovsky's The Nutcracker to tell a Hanukkah story. The music on the CD is performed by Shirim Klezmer Orchestra. The Golden Dreydl won a Gracie Award from American Women in Radio and Television. A live theater version of The Golden Dreydl was performed in 2008 and 2009 at Vital Theater in New York City, written by Kushner (who played "Tante Miriam" in the 2008 production) and directed by Linda Ames Key.
In 2007, Kushner, along with Elizabeth Schwartz and Yale Strom, scripted the musical audio drama The Witches of Lublin for public radio. Based on the history of Jewish women who were klezmer musicians in 18th Century Europe, The Witches of Lublin premiered on radio stations nationwide in April 2011 with performances by Tovah Feldshuh and Simon Jones. It won the 2012 Wilbur Award for Best Single Program, Radio; the 2012 Grace Allen Award for Best Director, and the 2012 Gabriel Award: Arts, Local Release, Radio.
In 2011 she co-edited (with Holly Black) Welcome to Bordertown, an anthology of new stories from Terri Windling's seminal shared-world series. In an audiobook adaptation Neil Gaiman read his own work, set to an original score by Boiled in Lead's Drew Miller.
She is also a member of the Endicott Studio and has taught classes and seminars as part of Hollins University's MFA program; the Odyssey Writing Workshop; and the Clarion Writers' Workshop.
Choose Your Own Adventure books
- 47. Outlaws of Sherwood Forest (August, 1985)
- 56. The Enchanted Kingdom (May, 1986)
- 58. Statue of Liberty Adventure (July, 1986)
- 63. Mystery of the Secret Room (December, 1986)
- 86. Knights of the Round Table (December, 1988)
- Swordspoint (1987)
- The Fall of the Kings (with Delia Sherman) (2002)
- The Privilege of the Sword (2006)
- The Man with the Knives (2010)
- Tremontaine a "serial" in 4 "seasons", sold through Serial Box. Set roughly 18 years before Swordspont
- Thomas the Rhymer (1990)
- St. Nicholas and the Valley Beyond the World's Edge (1994)
- Basilisk (1980)
- Nominated for Balrog Award for Best Fantasy Anthology
- The Horns of Elfland (with Delia Sherman and Donald G. Keller) (1997)
- Nominated for Locus Award Best Anthology
- Welcome to Bordertown (New Stories and Poems of the Borderlands) (with Holly Black) (2011)
- "PUGGY'S HILL – Final 'Sound & Spirit' broadcasts". archive.is. 29 November 2012. Archived from the original on 29 November 2012.
- Bickelhaupt, Susan; Maureen Dezell (1996-10-25). "Will Klein Sign His Letters From Washington?". The Boston Globe.
- Simon, Clea (2004-09-01). "It was love, but now it's gone". The Boston Globe. Retrieved 2007-08-10.
- "NYRSF Readings' 'Family Night' Features Ellen Kushner & Delia Sherman Duo". SFScope. Retrieved 2015-02-08.
- Kushner, Ellen. "Are You Bisexual?". Ellen Kushner's Tumblr. Tumblr. Retrieved 14 March 2016.
- "'Neil Gaiman Presents' Launches on ACX". 25 October 2011.
- "Audie Award Best Drama". Retrieved 2015-02-08.
- "Swordspoint:A Melodrama of Manners". Retrieved 2015-02-08.
- "19th annual Communicator Award of Excellence Winners". Retrieved 2015-02-08.
- "Sue Media Productions – Awards". Retrieved 2015-02-08.
- "1991 World Fantasy Award Winners and Nominees". Archived from the original on 2013-10-15. Retrieved 2009-04-29.
- "Mythopoeic Awards – Winners". Archived from the original on 2014-10-06. Retrieved 2009-04-29.
- Mathews, David. "The SF Site: An Interview With Ellen Kushner and Delia Sherman". www.sfsite.com. Retrieved May 5, 2020.
- "Ellen Kushner & Delia Sherman – Brief Biographies". Archived from the original on April 6, 2005. Retrieved May 5, 2020.
- Farrell, John. "Ellen Kushner: Taking Audiobooks To Another Level". Forbes. Retrieved 2020-05-05.
- "Sound and Spirit; Drummers' Circle". openvault.wgbh.org. Retrieved 2020-05-05.
- "Sound and Spirit; Devil's Trill, The". openvault.wgbh.org. Retrieved 2020-05-05.
- "WGBH/PRI: Sound & Spirit: Neil Gaiman talking about Sandman – SFFaudio". Retrieved 2020-05-05.
- "People and Publishing: Awards," Locus, May 2002, p. 14
- "The Klezmer Nutcracker: Vital Theatre Company Announces Full Cast". New York Theatre Guide. Retrieved 2015-02-08.
- "The Witches of Lublin: Complete Cast". Retrieved 2015-02-08.
- "Music and Story for an Old Fashioned Passover". Hadassah Magazine. Retrieved 2015-02-08.
- Doctorow, Cory. "Expanded 'Welcome to Bordertown' audiobook, with Neil Gaiman, Steven Brust, Ellen Kushner and more". Boing Boing. Retrieved 2015-02-08.
- "Spotlight on: Ellen Kushner, Tremontaine". Locus Online. 2017-01-22. Retrieved 2020-05-09.
- "Tremontaine". www.serialbox.com. Retrieved 2020-05-09.
- "Interstitial Arts Foundation: IAF Origins". Archived from the original on 2015-02-08. Retrieved 2015-02-08.
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