Women in Genre: A Month Dedicated to Female Genre Creators

Welcome to “Women in Genre Month” on The Alternative Typewriter, running from April 1st to April 30th. I hope you can spare me a few minutes and hear what I have to say. Genre fiction and its surrounding community has brought me many joys over the years. Most of the happiest moments I had as part of this community have been brought by women – wonderful, crazy talented, passionate and generous women.

Women in genre have brought me into reading and writing. The books crucial to my growth as a person and creator have been written by women in genre and serve as foundation to my craft. My period as a reviewer saw a great many women influence me in my technique. Women in genre have taught me how to be honest online without being offensive. It’s safe to say I’m who I am in the genre community thanks to the women in genre.

I love the women in genre. It’s that simple. My relationship with them runs deep and is powerful, so I get aggressively defensive when they’re questioned. I’m tired of the magical hunt for women in genre, because someone can’t think of a woman writing X, Y or Z, or doesn’t trust a woman to write X, Y or Z.

Where are they? Why are they underrepresented?

Newsflash, women are here. They’re not invisible and they’re having a marvelous time kicking ass, taking names and snatching critical acclaim. Nevertheless, there’s a problem in how we see gender in genre, because I still see women treated as a novelty when they contribute worthwhile material in genre. Janet Harriett writes about this on her blog as a prelude to this month.

I think we’re stuck on the idea of women as a minority and it’s playing a joke on our community as to how we see women or if we see them at all. It’s partially why we can’t move on and escape the loop we’re caught when it comes to discussing women in genre.

Where are the women in genre? This isn’t the question we ought to answer. Who are they? That’s the right question to ask.

This is the purpose behind this small project – to shed light on the 30 women in genre who have made significant difference in my life through their work and friendship. Each day, I’ll share one story – some will be raw and personal, others not so much.

I want us as a community to celebrate women and I’d like you participate the women in genre that have left a mark. Name books, give names and say thanks. The more we discuss women in genre as individuals, the less we’ll need to talk about them as a group. It’s time we change this conversation’s tone and ensure future readers won’t feel the necessity to wonder where the women are in genre.

Are you game?

I hope you are, because I’m one person. I can’t do much, even if I’m on all the channels.

Write about the women in genre you know and appreciate.

If you’re on Twitter, use the #WomenInGenre hashtag to find other people involved and spread the word wide and far.

Comment here and leave the names of women in genre. By the end of April, I’ll gather all names suggested and create one giant list so that we see just how many women there are.

However, what I truly and utterly hope for is for this conversation doesn’t end with April and the last day of this project. Please talk about women in genre every day. I think it’s one pretty good remedy for the problem of their underrepresentation.

19 thoughts on “Women in Genre: A Month Dedicated to Female Genre Creators

  1. The list could be massive, but here are a few off the top of my head:
    Urula K. LeGuin
    James Tiptree Jnr (Alice B. Sheldon)
    Mary Shelley
    Connie Willis
    Joanna Russ
    Charlaine Harris
    Kelly Link
    Zenna Henderson
    CL Moore
    Suzanne Collins (Rowling competitor with The Hunger Games)
    Lois McMaster Bujold
    CJ Cherryh
    Tanith Lee
    Kage Baker
    Elizabeth Moon
    Anne McCaffrey
    Nancy Kress
    Cherie Priest
    Pat Cadigan
    Suzy McKee Charnas
    Nalo Hopkinson
    …that’s just for starters. The list goes on and on and on….

  2. A quick look over my own shelves gives me these to add to the above list:
    Judith Tarr
    Jane Yolen
    Sherri Tepper
    Kari Sperring
    Melissa Scott
    Michelle West
    Tanya Huff
    Martha Wells
    Elaine Cunningham
    Barbara Hambly
    Robin Hobb
    Janet Morris
    Nina Niriki Hoffman
    Erin Hoffman
    Diana L. Paxton
    RA McAvoy
    Jo Walton
    Fiona Patton
    Diana Wynn Jones
    Katherine Kerr
    Gwyneth Jones
    Andre Norton

  3. Comments! Oh I love comments. Thank you for stopping by and leaving these names. All excellent names.

  4. I am so glad you are doing this. The above lists are terrific and I may repeat some but I want to focus on my favorite new(er) writers who are almost exclusively women. Some have not yet made their mark with big novels. But in that case readers are missing out on 1/2 of the SF scene by not checking out short fiction:

    Vandana Singh
    Carolyn Ives Gilman
    Eleanor Arnason
    M.J. Jemison
    Yoon Ha Lee
    Aliette de Bodard
    Naomi Kritzer
    Nancy Kress
    Elizabeth Bear
    Kij Johnson
    Mira Grant (Seanan McGuire)
    Nedi Okorafor
    Nina Kiriki Hoffman
    Catherynne M. Valente
    Brit Mandelo
    Carrie Vaughn
    Margo Lanagan
    Rachel Swirsky
    Mary Robinette Kowall
    Leigh Bardugo
    Rachel Pollack
    Catherine Asaro
    Cat Rambo
    Xia Jia (I’m not sure here but i believe this is a woman)
    Jennifier Albin
    Theodora Goss
    Sandra MacDonald
    Pat Cadigan
    Linda Nagata
    Kristine Katherine Rusch
    Megan Arkenburg
    Gwyneth Jones
    Helena Bell
    Genvieve Valentine
    Nancy Fulda
    Melissa Mead
    Maggie Clark
    Maria Davhana Headley

    And this list is just from my favorite Novels/Short Fiction published in 2012!
    I mean even without going to the past giants in the feild like Ursula K. Leguin and James Tiptree, Jr etc. we have more women writing genre than ever before. And I know I missed a lot, still! We are blind if we ask were are the women writers in genre.


  5. Kari Sperring, Louise Marley, Seanan McGuire (she just got five Hugo noms!), ALma Alexander Kristine Kathryn Rusch, Nisi Shawl…

  6. Thank for the opportunity to spread the word about women in genre. I’ve been compiling a list on my blog (http://www.thegalaxyexpress.net/p/sfr-authors.html) that features women authors of science fiction romance. The names range from brand name SF authors to unknowns and they’ve written stories that combine romance and SF in some way.

    Jayge Carr
    Jan Clark
    Phoebe Conn
    Rebecca Brandewyne
    Lois McMaster Bujold
    Debra Doyle
    Carole Nelson Douglas
    Doris Egan
    Teresa Edgeton
    Kate Elliot
    Cheryl Franklin
    Tara K. Harper
    Katharine Eliska Kimbriel
    Jayne Ann Krentz
    Sharon Le
    Jean Lorrah
    Adrienne Martine-Barnes
    Flora Speer
    Susan Shwartz
    Janelle Taylor
    Joan Vinge
    M. K. Wren
    Catherine Asaro
    Anne Avery
    Marilyn Campbell
    Nancy Cane
    Jackie Casto
    Justine Davis
    Saranne Dawson
    Jane Emerson
    Rebecca Flanders
    Karen Fox
    Judy Gill
    Chloe Hall
    Marilyn Jordan
    Dara Joy
    Janet Kagan
    Susan Krinard
    Carole Ann Lee
    Kristen Kyle
    Johanna Lindsey
    Mickee Madden
    Tess Mallory
    Pam McCutcheon
    Christine Michels
    Kathleen Morgan
    Lisanne Norman
    Stobie Piel
    Pam Rock
    Patricia Roenbeck
    Melissa Scott
    Sharon Shinn
    Wen Spencer
    Janice Tarantino
    Connie Willis
    Jan Zimlich
    Ann Aguirre
    KS Augustin
    C.J. Barry
    Cheryl Brooks
    Beth Ciotta
    Rowena Cherry
    Charlotte Boyett-Compo
    Elaine Corvidae
    Tracy Cozzens
    Bianc D’Arc
    Autumn Dawn
    Katherine Deauxville
    Claire Delacroix 
    Marianne de Pierres
    Leslie Dicken
    Andrea Dionne
    Jax Garren
    Jess Granger
    Susan Grant
    Nathalie Gray
    Colby Hodge
    Pauline B. Jones
    Susan Kearney
    Karen Kelley
    Isabo Kelly
    Eve Kenin
    Katherine Eliska Kimbrel
    Stacey Klemstein
    Angela Knight
    Deidre Knight
    Kim Knox
    Ellen Fisher
    Lisa Lane
    Jade Lee
    Marjorie M. Liu
    Rae Lori
    Gennita Low
    Michelle Maddox
    Marianne Mancusi
    Ellie Marvel
    Liz Maverick
    Sandra McDonald
    Janet Miller
    Kathleen Nance
    Patti O’Shea
    Robin D. Owens
    Dru Pagliassotti
    Robin T. Popp
    J.D. Robb
    Linnea Sinclair
    Gena Showalter
    Susan Sizemore
    Catherine Spangler
    Angelia Sparrow
    Susan Squires
    Amanda Steiger
    Jordan Summers
    Karen Traviss
    Diane Turnshek
    Angela Verdenius
    S.L. Viehl
    Patricia Waddell
    Saje Williams
    Maria Zannini
    Melisse Aires
    Erica Anderson
    Cheryl Angst
    Zoe Archer
    Christine Bell
    Jenna Bennett
    Manda Benson
    Tilda Booth
    Sidney Bristol
    Meljean Brook
    Misa Buckley
    Joely Sue Burkhart
    Marcella Burnard
    K.C. Burn
    Diane Burton
    Lilly Cain
    Kat Cantrell
    J.K. Coi
    Sara Creasy
    Anah Crow
    Sara Brookes
    Christine Danse
    Ainsley Davidson
    Bonnie Dee
    Delilah Devlin
    Diane Dooley
    Ella Drake
    Barbara Elsborg
    Marie Fee
    Sharon Lynn Fisher
    P.G. Forte 
    Jacquelyn Frank
    Stacy Gail
    Kait Gamble
    L.J. Garland
    S.E. Gilchrist
    K.T. Grant
    Inari Gray
    Patricia Green
    Jeanette Grey
    Anna Hackett
    Barbara J. Hancock
    S. Reesa Herberth
    Leanna Renee Hieber
    J.L. Hilton
    Violet Hilton
    Sarah A. Hoyt
    D.L. Jackson
    Pippa Jay
    Ilene Kaye
    Erin Kellison
    Sahara Kelly
    C.E. Kilgore
    KC Klein 
    Gini Koch
    Eve Langlais
    Corrina Lawson
    Karalynn Lee
    Michelle L. Levigne
    Sarah Mäkelä
    Kaye Manro
    Katie MacAlister
    Heather Massey
    Jenna McCormick
    Anitra Lynn McLeod
    Linda Mooney
    Michelle Moore
    Sheryl Nantus
    A.R. Norris
    Cindy Spencer Pape
    Frances Pauli
    Cathy Pegau
    Berinn Rae
    Edie Ramer
    Chris Reher
    LK Rigel 
    Val Roberts
    Candace Sams
    Vijaya Schartz
    P.J. Schnyder
    Jenny Schwartz
    Veronica Scott
    Yolanda Sfetsos
    Jessica Slade
    Sandra Sookoo
    Lisa Paitz Spindler
    Jessica E. Subject
    Sasha Summers
    Fae Sutherland
    T.K. Toppin
    Kate Roman
    Joss Ware
    Aubrey Watt
    Sharolyn Wells
    Gayle Ann Williams
    Brenda Williamson 
    Lucy Woodhull

  7. I just have one name, there are many wonderful women in genre that have already been named. I would like to point you to one who is just starting out. Kortnee Bryant. Check out some of her stories here.
    two of her best are:

  8. Thank you all. This will lead me to have a very busy weekend ahead, but I am quite excited to see so many names listed already.

  9. Madeline Ashby
    Gwenda Bond
    Kim Curran
    Gail Martin
    Trudi Canavan
    Kate Locke
    Gail Carriger
    Mercedes Lackey
    Naomi Novik
    Anne Rice
    N.K. Jemisin
    K.T. Davies
    Margaret Weis
    Janny Wurts
    Rowena Cory Daniels
    Justina Robson
    Laura Lam
    Cassandra Rose Clarke

    And I think Doris Lessing must be mentioned.

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  11. Susana Clark
    Seanan McGuire
    Jane Yolen
    Susan Cooper
    Tanith Lee
    Jacqueline Lichtenberg
    Chelsea Quinn Yarbro
    Mercedes Lackey
    Pamela Dean
    Holly Black
    Julian May
    Nancy A. Collins
    Terri Windling
    Rachel Caine
    Kim Harrison
    Octavia Butler
    Ursula K. LeGuin
    Marion Zimmer Bradley
    Diana Paxson
    Gael Baudino
    Caitlin Kittredge
    C. E. Murphy
    Marie Brennan
    Sarah A. Hoyt
    Melissa Marr
    Midori Snyder
    Ellen Kushner
    Delia Sherman
    Emma Bull
    Kara Dalkey
    Leigh Brackett
    C. L. Moore
    Esther Friesner
    Katherine Kurtz
    Joan D. Vinge
    Lisa Goldstein
    Cherie Priest
    Patricia A. McKillip
    Jane Lindskold
    Andre Norton
    Maggie Stiefvater
    Carole Nelson Douglas
    Ellen Datlow
    Evangeline Walton

  12. Sarah Monette, Elizabeth Bear, Karen Lowachee, Robin McKinley, Ilona Andrews, Patricia Briggs, Jacqueline Carey, Michelle Sagara, Stacia Kane, Jennifer Harlow, Darynda Jones, Kelly Gay, Kelly Meding, Kalayna Price, Jennifer Estep, Wen Spencer, Faith Hunter, C.S. Friedman, Mercedes Lackey, Juliet Marillier, Rachel Aaron, Marissa Meyer, Sherwood Smith, Patricia C. Wrede, Caroline Stevermer, Megan Whalen Turner, Sarah Rees Brennan, Madeleine L’ Engle.

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  14. I’ve been discussing women as writers and protagonists of SF (and as scientists and other non-supporting vocations and functions) for decades; I heartily wish we didn’t need to still have this discussion. Here’s a huge, neglected (surprise!) database: http://www.feministsf.org/authors/wsfwriters.html

    Also, below are additional names that don’t overlap with those already listed. I have no doubt I’ll think of more the moment I push the “Post” button.

    Vonda McIntyre
    Marge Piercy
    Laura Mixon (Morgan Locke)
    C. S. Friedman
    Joan Slonczewski
    Elizabeth Lynn
    Elizabeth Hand
    Marie Jakober
    Bharati Mukherjee
    Kristin Landon
    Evghenia Fakinou
    Laura Esquivel
    Sabrina Vourvoulias
    Kelly Jennings
    Christine Lucas
    Sue Lange
    Terry Boren
    Alex Dally MacFarlane
    Carol Emshwiller
    Louise Erdrich
    Alice Hoffman
    Margaret Atwood
    Pamela Sargent
    Diane Duane
    Karen Fowler
    Valerie Freireich
    Nicola Griffith
    Sonia Orin Lyris
    Sylvia Townsend Warner
    Isabel Allende
    Tatyana Tolstaya
    Isak Dinesen (Karen Blixen)
    Angela Carter
    Sheila Finch
    Lauren Beukes
    Toni Morrison
    Barbara Naylor
    Johanna Sinisalo
    Kate Wilhelm
    Pat Murphy
    Meredith Ann Pierce

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