Jo Walton

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Jo Walton
Jo Walton in 2014
Jo Walton in 2014
Born (1964-12-01) 1 December 1964 (age 56)
Aberdare, Wales, UK[1]
NationalityWelsh and Canadian
GenreFantasy, science fiction, alternate history
SpouseEmmet A. O'Brien

Jo Walton (born 1 December 1964) is a Welsh-Canadian fantasy and science fiction writer and poet. She won the John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer in 2002 and the World Fantasy award for her novel Tooth and Claw in 2004. Her novel Ha'penny was a co-winner of the 2008 Prometheus Award. Her novel Lifelode won the 2010 Mythopoeic Award. Her novel Among Others won the 2011 Nebula Award for Best Novel[2] and the 2012 Hugo Award for Best Novel;[3] Among Others is one of only seven novels to have been nominated for the Hugo Award, the Nebula Award, and the World Fantasy Award.


Walton was born on 1 December 1964, in Aberdare, a town in the Cynon Valley of Wales.[4][1] She went to Park School in Aberdare, then Aberdare Girls' Grammar School. She lived for a year in Cardiff, went to Howell's School Llandaff and finished her education at Oswestry School in Shropshire and at the University of Lancaster. She lived in London for two years and lived in Lancaster until 1997. She then moved to Swansea, where she lived until she moved to Canada in 2002.[5]

Walton speaks Welsh: "It's the second language of my family of origin, my grandmother was a well known Welsh scholar and translator, I studied it in school from five to sixteen, I have a ten year old's fluency on grammar and vocab but no problem whatsoever with pronunciation."[6]

Writing career[edit]

Walton has been writing since she was 13, but her first novel was not published until 2000. Before that, she had been published in a number of role-playing game publications, such as Pyramid, mostly in collaboration with her husband at the time, Ken Walton, co-founder of the Cakebread & Walton games company.[7] Walton was also active in online science fiction fandom, especially in the Usenet groups rec.arts.sf.written and rec.arts.sf.fandom. Her poem "The Lurkers Support Me in E-Mail" is widely quoted on it and in other online arguments, often without her name attached.[8]

Her first three novels, The King's Peace (2000), The King's Name (2001), and The Prize in the Game (2002) were all fantasy and set in the same world, which is based on Arthurian Britain and the Táin Bó Cúailnge's Ireland. Her next novel, Tooth and Claw (2003) was intended as a novel Anthony Trollope could have written, but about dragons rather than humans.

Farthing was her first science fiction novel, placing the genre of the cozy mystery firmly inside an alternative history in which the United Kingdom made peace with Adolf Hitler before the involvement of the United States in World War II. It was nominated for a Nebula Award, a Quill Award,[9] the John W. Campbell Memorial Award for best science fiction novel,[10] and the Sidewise Award for Alternate History. A sequel, Ha'penny, was published in October 2007 by Tor Books,[11] with the final book in the trilogy, Half a Crown, published in September 2008. Ha'penny won the 2008 Prometheus Award (jointly with Harry Turtledove's novel The Gladiator)[12] and has been nominated for the Lambda Literary Award.[13]

In April 2007, Howard V. Hendrix stated that professional writers should never release their writings online for free, as this made them equivalent to scabs.[14] Walton responded to this by declaring 23 April as International Pixel-Stained Technopeasant Day, a day in which writers who disagreed with Hendrix could release their stories online en masse. In 2008 Walton celebrated this day by posting several chapters of an unfinished sequel to Tooth and Claw, Those Who Favor Fire.

In 2008, Walton began writing an online column for, mostly retrospective reviews of older books.[15] A collection of these blog posts were published in What Make This Book So Great (2014).

Her book, Among Others (2012), won several awards including the Hugo Award for Best Novel and Nebula Award for Best Novel. Walton continues to publish a new novel every year or so.

In February 2018 Jo was the Literary/Fan Guest of Honor and Keynote Speaker at the 36th annual Life, the Universe, & Everything professional science fiction and fantasy arts symposium.[16]



Year[a] Work Award Result[17]
2003 Tooth and Claw World Fantasy Award Won
2006 Farthing Campbell Memorial Award Nominated
Locus Award Nominated
Nebula Award Nominated
Sidewise Award Nominated
2007 Ha'penny Gaylactic Spectrum Award Nominated
Lambda Award Nominated
Prometheus Award Nominated
Sidewise Award Nominated
2008 Half a Crown Prometheus Award Nominated
Sidewise Award Nominated
2009 Lifelode Mythopoeic Award Won
Tiptree Award Nominated
2011 Among Others British Fantasy Award Won
Hugo Award Won
Locus Award Nominated
Nebula Award Won
Mythopoeic Award Nominated
World Fantasy Award Nominated
2014 My Real Children Gaylactic Spectrum Award Nominated
Sidewise Award Nominated
Tiptree Award Won
World Fantasy Award Nominated
2015 The Just City Prometheus Award Nominated
2016 Necessity Locus Award Nominated
Thessaly trilogy Mythopoeic Award Nominated
2019 Lent Mythopoeic Award Nominated


Year[a] Work Award Result[17]
2014 What Makes This Book So Great Locus Award Won
2018 An Informal History of the Hugos Hugo Award Nominated
Locus Award Nominated

Personal life[edit]

Walton moved to Montreal, Quebec, Canada, after her first novel was published. She is married to Ireland-born Dr. Emmet A. O'Brien.[18] She has one child, a son, Alexander, born 1990.



  • Tooth and Claw (November 2003, Tor Books, ISBN 0-7653-0264-0) Won the World Fantasy Award.
  • Lifelode (February 2009, NESFA Press,[19] ISBN 1-886778-82-5)
  • Among Others (January 2011, Tor Books ISBN 978-0-7653-2153-4); Nebula Award for Best Novel 2011, Hugo Award for Best Novel 2012, World Fantasy Award nominee
  • My Real Children (May 2014, Tor Books, ISBN 9780765332653); Tiptree Award 2014,[20] World Fantasy Award nominee,[21] Aurora Award nominee[22]
  • Lent (May 2019, Tor Books, ISBN 9780765379061)
  • Or What You Will (July 2020, Tor Books, ISBN 9781250308993)
Sulien series
Small Change trilogy
Thessaly trilogy

Other works[edit]

Short stories[edit]


  • "Story behind Ha'Penny by Jo Walton" (2013), from Story Behind the Book : Volume 1[24]

Critical studies and reviews of Walton's work[edit]


  1. ^ a b Year of publication.


  1. ^ a b Jo Walton's Among Others: 'It's a mythologisation of part of my life' at the Guardian; by David Barnett; published 2 October 2012. Retrieved 4 November 2013
  2. ^ 2011 Nebula Award Winners at Locus Online News, published 19 May 2012. Retrieved 20 May 2012
  3. ^ Announcing the 2012 Hugo Award Winners at, published 2 September 2012. Retrieved 2 September 2012]
  4. ^ Contemporary Authors New Revision Series. 169. Gale Cengage Publishing. 2008. p. 434. ISBN 9780787695330.
  5. ^ Turner, Robin (26 December 2007). "Jo's scientific approach to writing". Western Mail. Wales. Archived from the original on 18 April 2008. Retrieved 29 December 2007.
  6. ^ Walton, Jo (26 December 2007). "LiveJournal comment on knowledge of Welsh". LiveJournal. Archived from the original on 26 March 2012. Retrieved 14 November 2017.CS1 maint: bot: original URL status unknown (link)
  7. ^ Jo Walton :: Pen & Paper RPG Database Archived 16 January 2005 at the Wayback Machine
  8. ^ "IRoSF: Login Required". Archived from the original on 13 November 2012. Retrieved 1 April 2008.
  9. ^ Announcement of Quills nominees at The Beat Archived 15 July 2012 at, 2 June 2007
  10. ^ John W. Campbell Memorial Award Finalists. Retrieved 4 June 2007
  11. ^ Tor Books blurb page for Ha'penny Archived 4 December 2007 at the Wayback Machine.
  12. ^ "Prometheus Award Finalists Announced". Libertarian Futurist Society. March 2008. Retrieved 25 April 2013.
  13. ^ 20th Annual Lambda Literary Awards accessed 25 April 2013.
  14. ^ Hendrix's "webscabs" post on LiveJournal Archived 4 January 2009 at the Wayback Machine, April 2007
  15. ^ Jo Walton Reads at
  16. ^ "Life, the Universe, & Everything 36: The Marion K. "Doc" Smith Symposium on Science Fiction and Fantasy" (PDF). LTUE Press. 1 February 2018.
  17. ^ a b "Jo Walton Awards". Science Fiction Awards Database. Locus Science Fiction Foundation. Retrieved 13 September 2021.
  18. ^ Langford, David (August 2001). "Infinitely Improbable". Ansible (169).
  19. ^ Printed, according to the Salt Lake County library catalog,, "in a limited hardcover edition of 800 copies"
  20. ^ "2014 James Tiptree, Jr. Award". James Tiptree Jr. Literary Award.
  21. ^ The 2015 World Fantasy Award Nominees Have Been Announced!, at; published 8 July 2015. Retrieved 25 July 2015
  22. ^ 2015 Aurora Awards Nominees, at Locus Online; published 26 May 2015. Retrieved 29 November 2015
  23. ^ "Note on The End of the World in Duxford". 28 March 2003. Archived from the original on 28 March 2003. Retrieved 26 August 2014.
  24. ^ Story Behind the Book : Volume 1 – Essays on Writing Speculative Fiction Archived 12 September 2015 at the Wayback Machine

External links[edit]