Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America, or SFWA (/ˈsɪfwə/ or /ˈsɛfwə/) is a nonprofit 501(c)3 organization of professional science fiction and fantasy writers. While SFWA is based in the United States, its membership is open to writers worldwide. The organization was founded in 1965 by Damon Knight under the name Science Fiction Writers of America, Inc. The president of SFWA as of 2015 is Cat Rambo.
SFWA has about 1,900 professionally published writer members worldwide.
|Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America|
|Purpose||SFWA informs, supports, promotes, defends and advocates for its members.|
|Approx. 1,900 members|
SFWA informs, supports, promotes, defends and advocates for its members.
SFWA activities include informing science fiction and fantasy writers on professional matters, protecting their interests, and helping them deal effectively with agents, editors, anthologists, and producers in print and non-print media; encouraging public interest in and appreciation for science fiction and fantasy literature; sponsoring, editing, and disseminating writings, papers, books, pamphlets, and other publications which exemplify science fiction and fantasy literature of high quality; conducting conferences, public discussion groups, forums, lectures, and seminar programs; and furnishing services connected with this stated purpose.
Science Fiction Writers of America, Inc. was founded in 1965 by Damon Knight in association with a group of writers connected to the Milford Conference, which he also headed. According to Todd McCaffrey, the organization immediately "acquired great status in its efforts to help J.R.R. Tolkien get fair recompense in America for pirated sales of The Lord of the Rings." In 1991, the name of the organization was changed to Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America, to reflect the fact that the organization had always included writers working in multiple genres. After the name change, both SFWA and SFFWA were used as acronyms. The acronym SFWA was re-established officially in 1996.
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.
In September 2009, SFWA joined the Open Book Alliance to oppose the Google Book Settlement. As a party to the class action suit, SFWA had recently explained its reservations about the settlement and declared its intention to file an objection.
SFWA participates in various trade shows and publishing industry events in the United States and abroad, including BookExpo America, the American Library Association Midwinter Conference, the USA Science & Engineering Festival, and several major (and minor) science fiction, fantasy and media conventions. SFWA holds a semi-annual business meeting at the World Science Fiction Convention (Worldcon) when it's held in North America, and at the North American Science Fiction Convention (NASFiC) otherwise.
SFWA also hosts its own events, which include:
As an organization, SFWA acts as an advocate to effect important changes within the publishing industry, especially among publishers of science fiction and fantasy, by promoting author-friendly copyright legislation, equitable treatment of authors, and fair contract terms.
SFWA sponsors Writer Beware, whose mission is to track, expose, and raise awareness of the prevalence of fraud and other questionable activities in and around the publishing industry. Writer Beware consists of the Writer Beware website, which provides the latest information on literary schemes, scams, and pitfalls; the Writer Beware blog, which provides up-to-the-minute information on specific scams and schemes, along with advice for writers and industry news and commentary; and the Writer Beware Facebook page, which posts links to articles, news items, and warnings of interest to writers, and provides a forum for discussion. Writer Beware receives the support of the Mystery Writers of America and the Horror Writers Association.
Writer Beware maintains an extensive database of complaints on questionable literary agents, publishers, independent editors, writers’ services, contests, publicity services, and others, and offers a free research and information service for writers. Writer Beware staff assist law enforcement agencies with investigations of literary fraud, and have been instrumental in the convictions of several literary scammers.
Griefcom, or the Grievance Committee, is formed of member volunteers who undertake to mediate writer disputes and grievances between member writers and their publishers.
SFWA's Emergency Medical Fund was established to assist eligible writers who have unexpected medical expenses.
SFWA's Legal Fund was established to create loans for eligible member writers who have writing-related court costs and other related legal expenses.
Founded by longtime SFWA member Bud Webster, the Estate Project is now headed by Mishell Baker. It maintains a list of the estates of deceased SFWA member writers and coordinates with living member writers to make arrangements for their future estates. The Estate Project also accumulates information about authors' archives for member writers, living or dead.29.
The SFWA Bulletin is a quarterly magazine that SFWA members receive as part of their membership, but it is also available (by subscription) to non-members. The Bulletin carries nonfiction articles of general interest to writers, especially science fiction and fantasy writers. It accepts submissions, for which the pay rate is 8 cents a word. The current Bulletin editor is Neil Clarke.
A special issue (no. 203) published in March 2014 was edited by Tansy Rayner Roberts and Jaym Gates and "was specially created to be used as an outreach tool for conventions and other events." The issue's contents and cover were welcomed by some as an antidote to the perceived sexism of past issues though Sue Granquist felt that something looked "suspiciously like a woman in a burka".
In 2013, a controversy about sexism in the Bulletin led to the resignation of editor Jean Rabe on June 5, 2013. 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 chain-mail bikini. Several authors used the occasion to speak out against sexism in science fiction genre circles more broadly. The controversy continued through Bulletin no. 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". In February 2014 a proposal to establish an advisory board to oversee content was met by a petition circulated by editor and critic Dave Truesdale supporting freedom of speech in the Bulletin.
As a result of the controversy, SFWA president John Scalzi apologized to members, and the Bulletin was put on hiatus for six months. It reappeared with the Winter 2014 Special Issue, #203, but has been on a reduced schedule, publishing an average of 2 issues per year.
The Forum Binary is a biannual publication that functions as SFWA's internal publication of record for members. As such, it is not available to non-members.
SFWA also publishes short essays and other content relevant to writers on the SFWA Blog.
Most members live in the United States but membership is open to qualifying writers worldwide. 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.
Dues range from $90 for Associate membership up to $115 for Affiliate membership.
SFWA's Board of Directors consists of the current president, vice president, secretary, chief financial officer, and five directors-at-large.
You don’t have to be a genre writer to benefit from this excellent site and its Writer Beware blog. Its mission is to “track, expose, and raise awareness of the prevalence of fraud and other questionable activities in and around the publishing industry.” They say that they “maintain an extensive database of questionable literary agents, publishers, independent editors, writers’ services, contests, publicity services, and others.” If you have a complaint about a company you have worked with or a question you can email them at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Ms. Crispin served 10 years as eastern regional director of the writers’ group and helped found the watchdog committee called Writer Beware in 1998. Writer Beware is a group that alerts people to online scams of would-be agents and publishers, seeking to entrap and defraud would-be writers unfamiliar with the publishing world. Ms. Crispin helped uncover hundreds of cases, testified in court, and assisted the FBI and prosecutors in sending several scam artists to prison.
The Andre Norton Award for Young Adult Science Fiction and Fantasy is an annual award presented by the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America (SFWA) to the author of the best young adult science fiction or fantasy book published in the United States in the preceding year. It is named to honor prolific science fiction and fantasy author Andre Norton (1912–2005), and it was established by then SFWA president Catherine Asaro and the SFWA Young Adult Fiction committee and announced on February 20, 2005. Any published young adult science fiction or fantasy novel is eligible for the prize, including graphic novels. There is no limit on word count. The award is presented along with the Nebula Awards and follows the same rules for nominations and voting; as the awards are separate, works may be simultaneously nominated for both the Andre Norton award and a Nebula Award.Andre Norton Award nominees and winners are chosen by members of the SFWA, though the authors of the nominees do not need to be members. Works are nominated each year between November 15 and February 15 by published authors who are members of the organization, and the six works that receive the most nominations then form the final ballot, with additional nominees possible in the case of ties. A SFWA panel of jurors determines if the nominated works are written for young adults, and they may add up to three works to the ballot. Members may then vote on the ballot throughout March, and the final results are presented at the Nebula Awards ceremony in May. Authors are not permitted to nominate their own works, and ties in the final vote are broken, if possible, by the number of nominations the works received. Beginning with the 2009 awards, the rules were changed to the current format. Prior to then, the eligibility period for nominations was defined as one year after the publication date of the work, which allowed works to be nominated in the calendar year after their publication and then be awarded in the calendar year after that. Works were added to a preliminary list for the year if they had ten or more nominations, which were then voted on to create a final ballot, to which the SFWA organizing panel was also allowed to add an additional work.During the 13 nomination years, 74 authors have had works nominated, of which 13 have won. Holly Black and Scott Westerfeld have had the most nominations at four—with Black winning once and Westerfield yet to win—followed by Sarah Beth Durst with three. Black, Alaya Dawn Johnson, Delia Sherman, and Ysabeau S. Wilce are the only authors nominated multiple times to have won the award, with one win apiece out of four, two, two, and two nominations, respectively.Author Emeritus
Author Emeritus was an honorary title annually bestowed by the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America upon a living writer. It was created in 1995 "as a way to recognize and appreciate senior writers in the genres of science fiction and fantasy who have made significant contributions to our field but who are no longer active or whose excellent work may no longer be as widely known as it once was." The Author Emeritus is invited to speak at the annual Nebula Awards banquet.The Author Emeritus was inaugurated in 1995 and conferred 14 times in 16 years to 2010 (at the 1994 to 2009 Nebula Awards banquets). Three years later, no more had been named and SFWA simply stated, "This year's Nebula Awards Weekend will not feature an Author Emeritus." By October 2013, early in the 20th year of the honor, SFWA had made unavailable general information about the Author Emeritus and a compiled list of honorees.
1995 Emil Petaja
1996 Wilson Tucker
1997 Judith Merril
1998 Nelson S. Bond
1999 William Tenn
2000 Daniel Keyes
2001 Robert Sheckley
2003 Katherine MacLean
2004 Charles L. Harness—declined the banquet invitation due to being unable to travel and was honored by SFWA as an "Author of Distinction"
2006 William F. Nolan
2007 D. G. Compton
2008 Ardath Mayhar
2009 M. J. Engh
2010 Neal Barrett, Jr.Brad Ferguson
Brad Ferguson (born 1953) is an American science fiction writer. He worked as a writer, editor and producer for CBS Radio News in New York. He is married to scientist Kathi Ferguson, with whom he collaborated on one novel.
Ferguson is the author of a number of Star Trek tie-in novels, several short stories, and the post-holocaust novel The World Next Door.
He served a three-year term as eastern regional director of the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America (SFWA), starting in 1999.Brimstone Press
Brimstone Press was an Australian independent publisher of dark fiction (horror and dark fantasy). Brimstone Press was established in 2004 by Angela Challis and Shane Jiraiya Cummings and was based in Western Australia.
The first publication from Brimstone Press was Shadowed Realms, an online flash fiction horror magazine that was active from 2004 to 2007. Authors published in Shadowed Realms include Terry Dowling, Richard Harland, Robert Hood, Poppy Z Brite, Stephen Dedman, Kurt Newton, Martin Livings, Lee Battersby, Paul Haines, Steven Cavanagh and Kaaron Warren. Shadowed Realms gained professional status from the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America (SFWA) in 2005 and was nominated for the Best Collected Work Ditmar Award in 2006.Brimstone Press also published HorrorScope: The Australian Dark Fiction Web Log, a news and review webzine. In December 2006, Brimstone Press moved into book publication. Among their published anthologies are Shadow Box and the Australian Dark Fantasy & Horror series.
Brimstone Press produced a newsstand-quality horror magazine, Black: Australia's Dark Culture magazine which ran for three issues in 2008. Many of Australia's best-known horror writers including Rob Hood, Leigh Blackmore and others appeared in its pages.
Several stories and projects published by Brimstone Press have won, or been nominated for, Australian and international literary awards.Bud Webster
Clarence Howard "Bud" Webster (July 27, 1952 – February 14, 2016) was an American science fiction and fantasy writer who is also known for his essays on both the history of science fiction and sf/fantasy anthologies as well. He is perhaps best known for the Bubba Pritchert series, which have won two Analytical Laboratory readers' awards from Analog Science Fiction and Fact magazine. Farewell Blues was featured on the cover of the January/February 2015 issue of The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction. Webster is also known for his survey of Groff Conklin's contribution to science fiction in 41 Above the Rest: An Index and Checklist for the Anthologies of Groff Conklin.Webster was a contributing editor and columnist for the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America Bulletin and published a collection of those columns titled Anthropology 101: Reflections, Inspections and Dissections of SF Anthologies through Merry Blacksmith Press. His Bulletin column, "Anthropology 101", examines the history of science fiction and fantasy through classic anthologies and anthologists, frequently pairing books by different editors but also presenting two or more books by the same anthologist. The column has included multi-installment pieces on Frederik Pohl, Robert Silverberg, Harry Harrison and more recently, Terry Carr. In addition, he has co-wrote three Bulletin articles with Dr. Jerry Pournelle. He was also a frequent contributor to the "Curiosity" page of The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction. He was the poetry editor and columnist for Helix SF, an online speculative fiction quarterly. After Helix SF ceased publication, he took his column, "Past Masters", to Jim Baen's Universe, and when that closed, to Eric Flint's Grantville Gazette. The "Past Masters" columns are retrospective appraisals of so-called "classic" science fiction and fantasy authors, and include extensive bibliographies. Some of the authors covered in the "Past Masters" series include Zenna Henderson, Fredric Brown, Edgar Pangborn, and Murray Leinster.
Webster was poetry editor at Black Gate, a print fantasy magazine, for which he also wrote a column about little-known authors titled "Who?!" The only one of the columns appeared in Black Gate 15 and discussed author Tom Reamy.
In 2007, the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America (SFWA) appointed Webster Estates Liaison, placing him in charge of their Estates Project, which makes it possible for publishers to contact the agents or individuals who represent the literary estates of deceased science-fiction and fantasy writers so that material by those authors can be reprinted. The Estates database currently contains information on more than 450 sf/fantasy authors.
In March 2012, SFWA announced that Webster would be given their Service to SFWA Award at the Nebula Awards banquet in May for his work on the SFWA Estates Project.In June 2013, Merry Blacksmith Press published a collection of Webster's essays about science fiction and fantasy authors and books titled Past Masters and Other Bookish Natterings, including articles on Clifford D. Simak. R. A. Lafferty, Judith Merril and others. This volume also includes short-short essays originally published in The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction as part of their "Curiosities" column, as well as three articles co-written with Jerry Pournelle.
Webster was also a collector of science fiction books, and is the author of The Joy of Booking: Webster's Guide to Buying and Selling Used SF and Fantasy Books.Damon Knight Memorial Grand Master Award
The Damon Knight Memorial Grand Master Award is a lifetime honor presented annually by the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America (SFWA) to no more than one living writer of fantasy or science fiction. It was inaugurated in 1975 when Robert Heinlein was made the first SFWA Grand Master and it was renamed in 2002 after the Association's founder, Damon Knight, who had died that year.The presentation is made at the annual SFWA Nebula Awards banquet, commonly during May, but it is not one of the Nebulas—which recognize the preceding calendar year's best works of SF and fantasy, selected by vote of all Association members. SFWA officers and past presidents alone submit Grand Master nominations and the final selection must be approved by a majority of that group. The recipient is announced in advance, commonly during the preceding calendar year, which is the publication year and official award year for the Nebulas.Daniel Keyes
Daniel Keyes (August 9, 1927 – June 15, 2014) was an American writer who wrote the novel Flowers for Algernon. Keyes was given the Author Emeritus honor by the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America in 2000.Escape Pod (podcast)
Escape Pod is a magazine-style podcast founded by Serah Eley and launched on 12 May 2005 which presents science fiction stories. It has been called "the world's leading science fiction podcast". In 2006, Eley created Escape Artists, Inc. to produce Escape Pod and sister podcasts, Pseudopod and PodCastle. While episodes are free, writers are paid according to market guidelines established by the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America, and the company runs solely on listener donations or subscriptions.Janet Berliner
Janet Berliner, formerly Janet Gluckman (September 24, 1939 – October 24, 2012), was a Bram Stoker Award-winning author and served as president of the Horror Writers Association from 1997 to 1998. She was also a member of Authors Guild, the International Thriller Writers, and the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America. She was born in Cape Town, South Africa, but moved to America with her husband in 1960. She became a citizen of the United States in 1966, and lived in Las Vegas.Kelley Eskridge
Kelley Eskridge (born 21 September 1960) is a writer of fiction, non-fiction and screenplays. Her work is generally regarded as speculative fiction and is associated with the more literary edge of the category, as well as with the category of slipstream fiction.M. J. Engh
Mary Jane Engh (born January 26, 1933, McLeansboro, Illinois) is a science fiction author and independent Roman scholar. In 2009, Engh was named Author emerita by the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America. She is best known for her 1976 novel Arslan, about an invasion of the United States.Michael Capobianco
Michael Victor Capobianco (born November 12, 1950) is an American science fiction writer.Capobianco wrote four novels jointly with William Barton. The books were published during the 1990s. The books address themes such as the Cold War, space travel, and space opera.
Capobianco served as President of Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America (SFWA) from 1996–1998 and again from 2007-2008. He received the Service to SFWA Award in 2004.
He was married to the late science fiction author, Ann C. Crispin.Michael Taylor (screenwriter)
Michael Taylor (born February 15, year unknown) is best known for his work as a writer for both Star Trek: Deep Space Nine and Star Trek: Voyager. His DS9 credits include the episodes "The Visitor", "Things Past", "Resurrection" and "In the Pale Moonlight", which was controversial for challenging some of Star Trek's utopian ideas.In the third season of Ronald D. Moore's re-working of Battlestar Galactica he joined the crew as a supervising producer and writer.
Taylor also worked as a producer and writer on the USA Network series The Dead Zone. In 2002, Michael Taylor was nominated for a Nebula Award, which is given by the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America, for writing a Dead Zone episode entitled "Unreasonable Doubt".His Voyager credits include:
"Blink of an Eye"
"Body and Soul"
"Bride of Chaotica!"
"Someone to Watch Over Me"
"One Small Step"
"Workforce, Part II"
"Once Upon a Time"
"Friendship One"His Caprica credits include: "Ghost in the Machine", "End of Line" and "False Labor"Nebula Award
The Nebula Awards annually recognize the best works of science fiction or fantasy published in the United States. The awards are organized and awarded by the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America (SFWA), a nonprofit association of professional science fiction and fantasy writers. They were first given in 1966 at a ceremony created for the awards, and are given in four categories for different lengths of literary works. A fifth category for film and television episode scripts was given 1974–78 and 2000–09, and a sixth category for video game writing was begun in 2018. The rules governing the Nebula Awards have changed several times during the awards' history, most recently in 2010. The SFWA Nebula Conference, at which the awards are announced and presented, is held each spring in the United States. Locations vary from year to year.
The Nebula Awards are one of the best known and most prestigious science fiction and fantasy awards and have been called "the most important of the American science fiction awards". Winning works have been published in special collections, and winners and nominees are often noted as such on the books' cover. SFWA identifies the awards by the year of publication, that is, the year prior to the year in which the award is given.
For lists of winners and nominees for each Nebula category, see the list of categories below.Night Shade Books
Night Shade Books is an American, San Francisco-based imprint, formerly an independent publishing company, that specializes in science fiction, fantasy, and horror. Among its publications have been the U.S. edition of Iain M. Banks' novel The Algebraist, which was nominated for a Hugo Award, and Paolo Bacigalupi's novel The Windup Girl, which won several awards. The company was started in 1997 by Jason Williams, with Jeremy Lassen coming on board as a partner shortly after the company's founding. Night Shade won the 2003 World Fantasy Award (Non-Professional).On July 9, 2010, the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America (SFWA) placed Night Shade Books on probation after it admitted to, and apologized to, authors for contractual irregularities. On November 30, 2011, SFWA lifted the probation based on good behavior during the probationary period. However, an investigation was reopened when further complaints were submitted to SFWA the following year. Once Night Shade Books indicated that it was possibly facing bankruptcy, SFWA subsequently delisted Night Shade Books as a qualifying market around April 2013. Two interested parties, Skyhorse Publishing and Start Publishing, offered to buy out the contracts and continue Night Shade Books as an imprint of their respective companies. On June 3, 2013, the final details of the corporate acquisition were announced.As of 2017, Night Shade Book's main office and sales office are in New York, and its distribution is through Simon & Schuster.Ray Bradbury Award
The Ray Bradbury Award (full name "Ray Bradbury Award for Outstanding Dramatic Presentation") is presented by the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America to recognize excellence in screenwriting, in place of the discontinued Nebula Award for Best Script which was awarded from 1974 to 1978 and from 2000 to 2009. A previous award called the Ray Bradbury Award, chosen by the President of SFWA, not by vote, was awarded four times between 1992 and 2009.SFWA Nebula Conference
The SFWA Nebula Conference is an annual event at which the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America gathers to honor outstanding work in the fields of science fiction and fantasy. Conference activities include professional sessions, tours, and a formal awards banquet at which the Nebula Awards are presented. The Nebula Awards have been presented annually since 1966, and the event was known as the Nebula Awards Weekend until 2014.Science Fiction Poetry Association
The Science Fiction & Fantasy Poetry Association (SFPA) was established as the Science Fiction Poetry Association in 1978 by Suzette Haden Elgin to bring together poets and readers interested in science fiction poetry. In 2015 the president of the SFPA was Bryan D. Dietrich, with Bryan Thao Worra starting as president in September 2016, with Vice-President Sandra J. Lindow and Secretary Shannon Connor Winward. In 2017, members of the Science Fiction Poetry Association voted to change the name of the organization to the Science Fiction & Fantasy Poetry Association, while keeping the acronym "SFPA", similar to the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America.Word count
The word count is the number of words in a document or passage of text. Word counting may be needed when a text is required to stay within certain numbers of words. This may particularly be the case in academia, legal proceedings, journalism and advertising. Word count is commonly used by translators to determine the price for the translation job. Word counts may also be used to calculate measures of readability and to measure typing and reading speeds (usually in words per minute). When converting character counts to words, a measure of 5 or 6 characters to a word is generally used for English.