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Worlds Without End Blog

Award Winning Books by Women Authors Posted at 8:12 PM by Dave Post

Dave Post

Award Winning Books by Women AuthorsWe’ve just added a new book list to WWEnd: Award Winning Books by Women Authors

This list contains all the award winning books by women authors for the 10 awards we cover on Worlds Without End: Hugo, Nebula, BSFA, Locus SF, Locus Fantasy, John W. Campbell, BFS, World FantasyPhilip K. Dick and Arthur C. Clarke.  (You can see the complete list of winners for all 10 awards here.)

Novels written by women account for only 65 of the 305 award winning novels across all 10 awards.  That’s only 21.3% since the first Hugo award was given in 1953.  Seems a bit low to me and, no doubt, many others out there.  In any case, what they lack for in quantity they make up for in quality.

So how many have you read from this list?  Which ones would you recommend?  For me, you have to read The Sparrow by Mary Doria Russell.  One of my all-time favorites.


Meridian   |   14 Dec 2010 @ 12:58

I’m slipping here: I’ve only read twenty-eight of them. I’ll use in my defence the fact that a number of them have never been available in any numbers in the UK. And I’ll nominate a the best "Doomsday Book" by Connie Willis. Sorry Ms LeGuin: your overall standard is the highest, but that book is a stunning one.M

Dave Post   |   14 Dec 2010 @ 14:00

@Meridian: You’ve read almost half of them and you call that slipping? I’m afraid to reveal my number – compared to yours it would be criminally small 🙁 I’ve been making an effort to read more women authors the last few years but I’ve not read from this list. My challenge for next year is to read 12 books from this list.

JYH   |   14 Dec 2010 @ 16:00

I’d be interested to know how that percentage (21.3 of winners) compares to the percentage of nominees who are women, or if less/more than one-fifth of SF/F writers are women, in which case the statistic might take on more significance…but not interested enough to do the research myself.

Meridian   |   14 Dec 2010 @ 16:30

I suspect that the proportion actually reflects fairly accurately a) the proportion of published female writers, and b) the proportion nominated for awards. If anything, I would be surprised if the proportion of published female writers was that high – it always struck me that most writers are male. Of course the habit of some female writers to use initials (C J Cherryh) or ambiguous given names J Hunter Holly) or even outright male pseudonyms makes working numbers out a little difficult. But try looking along the shelves of your local bookstore.Writer-wise, as opposed to individual books, I’d put LeGuin first, followed by the late "James Tiptree Jr" (Alice Sheldon) and then probably Connie Willis. M

Emil   |   15 Dec 2010 @ 00:03

There is the view (in yonder years) that the female author won an award in the year that the nominations did not cut the grade. As a matter of consequence, the woman won. Authors like Le Guin, Bujold, Willis and Moon have most certainly paved the way in an otherwise male dominant genre. Can’t say I rate Stephanie Meyer’s work amongst these dames, but then again, many male authors contributed to sf/f ‘s less favorable considerations during the pulp onslaught.I have finally received my copy of "The Sparrow" and will be reading it after finishinh with "The Doomsday Book," which I find to be quite a magnificent effort. Together with "To Say Nothing About The Dog," Wells’s "The Time Machine" and Heinlein’s short story "By His Bootstraps" it makes for another favorite in the time travel sub-genre.The Cambridge Companion to SF devotes a whole chapter to Feminist theory and sf. These are certainly voices that sf cannot ignore, and will be much the poorer without them.I’ve only read 12! And the only excuse I can use, is similar to Meridian’s – in South Africa these works are hard to come by 🙂

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