150+ Women SF Writers — A List

(compiled with the help of Ian Sales www.iansales.com and others)

This is an amended version of the flier I rushed out at Eastercon this year.  The idea was to counter one of the arguments about Women SF writers: that there aren’t many of them out there. 

The parameters I took were broad, work which might be considered borderline SF is included, but those who’s work as I’m aware of it is purely Fantasy (eg JK Rowling) have been omitted. Obviously there will be errors and blindspots, but hopefully this is a starting point, a few ideas for discussion, some reading suggestions, or just a reminder.  In producing this list I have been prompted to go back and re-read several books I’d ‘forgotten’. Many on the list are just names to me, long out of print or newcomers alike.  But that, to me, is the point.

Gill Alderman

Nina Allen

Patricia Anthony

Eleanor Arnason

Catherine Asaro

Margaret Atwood

Kage Baker

Elizabeth Bear

Lauren Beukes

Jay D Blakeney

Leigh Brackett

Marion Zimmer Bradley

MM Buckner

Lois McMaster Bujold

Emma Bull

Katherine Burdekin

Octavia Butler

Laura Bynum

Pat Cadigan

Angela Carter

Suzy McKee Charnas

CJ Cherryh

StormConstantine

Sara Creasy

Julie E Czernada

AM Dellamonica

Emily Devenport

Esme Dodderidge

Candas Jane Dorsey

L Timmel Duchamp

Suzette Haden Elgin

Margaret Elphinstone

Carol Emshwiller

MJ Engh

Kelley Eskridge

Bernadine Evaristo

Zoe Fairbairns

Jaine Fenn

Sheila Finch

Karen Joy Fowler

CS Friedman

Mary Gentle

Carolyn Ives Gilman

Charlotte Perkins Gilman

Lisa Goldstein

Kathleen Ann Goonan

Phyllis Gotlieb

Nicola Griffith

Andrea Hairston

Sarah Hall

Cicely Hamilton

Elizabeth Hand

Amanda Hemingway

Zenna Henderson

Cecelia Holland

Nalo Hopkinson

Tonya Huff

Shelley Jackson

PD James

NK Jemisin

Jane Jensen

Liz Jensen

Kij Johnson

Gwyneth Jones

Marjorie Bradley Kellogg

Leigh Kennedy

Kay Kenyon

Katharine Kerr

Rosemary Kirstein

Nancy Kress

Tanith Lee

Ursula K Le Guin

Rhoda Lerman

Doris Lessing

SN Lewitt

Megan Lindholm

Karin Lowachee

RA MacAvoy

Anne McCaffrey

Maureen F McHugh

Vonda N McIntyre

Katherine MacLean

Louise Marley

Susan R Matthews

Julian May

Ardath Mayhar

RM Meluch

LydiaMillett

Misha

Naomi Mitchison

Judith Moffett

Elizabeth Moon

CL Moore

Lyda Morehouse

Chris Moriarty

Janet E Morris

Bharati Mukherjee

Pat Murphy

Linda Nagata

Audrey Niffenegger

Andre Norton

Claudia O’Keefe

Nnedi Okorafor

Rebecca Ore

Jane Palmer

Severna Park

Jennifer Pelland

Marge Piercy

Marianne de Pierres

Rachel Pollack

Marta Randall

Kit Reed

Justina Robson

Michaela Roessner

Mary Rosenblum

Kristine Kathryn Rusch

Joanna Russ

Mary Doria Russell

Pamela Sargent

Josephine Saxton

Jody Scott

Melissa Scott

Ekaterina Sedia

Mary Shelley

Nisi Shawl

Susan Shwartz

Alison Sinclair

Johanna Sinisalo

Vandana Singh

Sydney J van Scyoc

Joan Slonczewski

Tricia Sullivan

Steph Swainston

Rachel Swirsky

Sheri S Tepper

Elizabeth Marshall Thomas

Sue Thomas

James Tiptree Jr

Karen Traviss

Lisa Tuttle

SL Viehl

Joan D Vinge

Élisabeth Vonarburg

Jo Walton

Kaaron Warren

Jane Webb

Kate Wilhelm

Liz Williams

Lynda Williams

Connie Willis

Janette Winterson

N Lee Wood

Virginia Woolf

MK Wren

Helen Wright

Chelsea Quinn Yarbro

Ann Tonsor Zeddies

Sarah Zettel

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About Kev McVeigh

Review of literary matters, mostly but not all SFF , and digressions into music and other arts. Engagement welcomed.
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18 Responses to 150+ Women SF Writers — A List

  1. Great list! Thank you.

  2. Ze says:

    Sonya Dorman.

    And would you count Jessica Amanda Salmondson or Louise Cooper??

  3. kev mcveigh says:

    Ze: yes to Dorman and Salmondson. My perception of Cooper is of her writing Fantasy but I’m willing to be enlightened.
    One thing that seems to have happened historically is that much women’s SF is recategorised as Fantasy or more recently as YA, with the aim of belittling their work. My point has been to say, no, these women do write SF. I like a lot of fantasy so its not a negative to say someone wrote fantasy.

  4. Aquila says:

    Louise Lawrence
    Jane Fletcher
    Fleur Beale
    Kate Elliott
    Jean Ure
    Doris Egan
    AC Crispin
    Caroline Forbes
    Katherine Forrest
    Monica Hughes
    Diana Wynne Jones
    Madeleine L’Engle
    Margaret Mahy
    Patricia McKillip
    Willow Davis Roberts
    Leigh Richards

    and Tonya Huff should be Tanya Huff

  5. John-Henri Holmberg says:

    A few additions:
    Dorothy Allison
    Kim Antieau
    Constance Ash
    Hilari Bell
    Gun Brooke
    Jo Clayton
    Brande Clough
    Mirian Allen DeFord
    Colleen Cooper DeMaio
    Phyllis Eisenstein
    Ru Emerson
    Melanie Fletcher
    Susan Fry
    Jewelle Gomez
    Nina Kiriki Hoffman
    Monica Hughes
    Janis Ian
    Anna Kavan
    Lee Killough
    Ellen Klages
    Sue Lange
    Mary Soon Lee
    Jacqueline Lichtenberg
    Jane Lindskold
    Kelly Link
    Holly Lisle
    Rosaleen Love
    Lois Lowry
    Elizabeth A Lynn
    Lisa Mason
    Katherine MacLean was really Katharine MacLean
    Judith Merril (you shouldn’t have missed that name!)
    Sophia MacDougall
    Donna McMahon
    Laura Mixon
    Ruth Nestvold
    Ruth L Ozeki
    Ayn Rand
    Selina Rosen
    Margaret St. Clair
    Melinda M Snodgrass
    Cecilia Tan
    Mary A Turzillo
    Leslie What
    Monique Wittig
    Patricia Wrightson
    Pamela Zoline

    A good initiative. Keep it up. It’ll be really interesting to see how many names the gets to be… but obviously it’s difficult to draw lines. I’ve tried to stick to authors who’ve written at least some works that are uneqivocally sf.

    Best,
    John-Henri

  6. Pingback: Aliette de Bodard » Blog Archive » The mistressworks of SF

  7. Anne Lyle says:

    I’d like to add BSFA award winner Aliette de Bodard, and Una McCormack who has published numerous short stories in both SF & F as well as tie-in novels for Deep Space Nine and Doctor Who. You might also want to consider Jo Anderton, whose debut Debris is described as Science Fantasy.

  8. Paddy Leahy says:

    Wot, no Anna Kavan? No Kelly Link? (at least one SF story in Pretty Monsters).

    (Also: Jeanette Winterson).

    Then again, I could take your 150+ women and play you 2900 men (mostly) in the Encyclopedia of SF, most of whom don’t rise above the routine. So the question is, how good does a writer have to be to make your cut? Worth reading anything they wrote, or what?

  9. Donna Scott says:

    She did wave – Kim Lakin Smith!

  10. Pingback: First there was the meme | SF Mistressworks

  11. John-Henri Holmberg says:

    A few you may have missed:

    Dorothy Allison
    Kim Antieau
    Catherine Asaro
    Constance Ash
    Kage Baker
    Hillari Bell
    Marion Zimmer Bradley
    Gun Brooke
    Octavia Butler
    Pat Cadigan
    Suzy McKee Charnas
    Brenda Clough
    Jo Clayton
    Colleen Cooper DeMaio
    Phyllis Eisenstein
    Melanie Fletcher
    Susan Fry
    Jewelle Gomez
    Elizabeth Hand
    Nina Kiriki Hoffman
    Monica Hughes
    Janis Ian
    Anna Kavan
    Katherine Kerr
    Lee Killough
    Ellen Klages
    Sue Lange
    Mary Soon Lee
    Tanith Lee
    Jacqueline Lichtenberg
    Janet Lindskold
    Kelly Link
    Holly Lisle
    Rosaleen Love
    Lois Lowry
    Elizabeth A Lynn
    Sophia MacDougall
    Lisa Mason
    Vonda N McIntyre
    Donna McMahon
    Judith Merril
    Laura Mixon
    Pat Murphy
    Ruth Nestvold
    Ruth L Ozeki
    Aun Rand
    Justina Robson
    Selina Rosen
    Melinda M Snodgrass
    Margaret St Clair
    Tricia Sullivan
    Cecilia Taon
    Mary A Turzillo
    Leslie What
    Kate Wilhelm
    Liz Williams
    Connie Willis
    Monique Wittig
    Patricia Wrightson
    Sarah Zettel
    Pamela Zoline

    Regards,
    John-Henri

  12. kev mcveigh says:

    Thanks John-Henri, some names new to me there, though a large proportion of them are already on the list, I think you’ll find.

  13. Off the top of my head, from the 80s:

    Caroline Forbes
    Anna Wilson
    Sandi Hall
    Anna Livia

    I wonder where they are now…

  14. John-Henri Holmberg says:

    Do you want to limit this to English-language authors, or should other languages be included as well? There is a fair number of women sf authors in German, Spanish, Finnish (you did have Johanna Sinisalo, didn’t you; there are others) and French, though in all honesty very few in some European languages, including Swedish.

  15. John-Henri Holmberg says:

    PS, Yes, I saw there a duplications, sorry about that. I initially didn’t include them when typing the names into the comments space here, but that entire list disappeared without a trace when I tried posting it, and so I just put up a copy of the entire list I worked from, which included both the names missing from yours and a number of authors compiled for another list. Even so, I do believe I added a fair number.

  16. You may be interested in the reading list of online editions of Pre-1923 Utopias and Science Fiction by Women which I’ve just put up at http://digital.library.upenn.edu/women/_collections/utopias/utopias.html. — Mary Mark Ockerbloom, A Celebration of Women Writers

    • kev mcveigh says:

      Great list Mary, thanks. One author on there that I already had is Jane Webb, author of The Mummy! Curious that she is listed on that list as Mrs Jane Loudon and occasionally elsewhere as Jane Loudon Webb as The Mummy! was published before she met John Claudius Loudon. It was innovations in her novel that led Loudon to seek an introduction.

  17. Great list! Here are a couple more:

    Lucy A. Snyder
    Cat Rambo

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