Double Your Donation

November 28 is Giving Tuesday, a day to celebrate generosity and to remember that there’s more to the holidays than consumerism and commercialization. This year, the Tiptree Award is joining in this national day of generosity and giving.

How can you participate?

  • Consider making a donation to the Tiptree Award. Thanks to a group of donors, all donations made from now through the end of the year will be matched, up to $2400. Your generosity will be doubled. If we make our match, we’ll raise $4800 for the award —over half of our annual budget.
  • If you haven’t already, share the latest Tiptree winner and honor list with friends on social media. (What could be more generous than sharing a good book?)
  • If you’re shopping for holiday gifts, remember the Tiptree store. Our new edition of The Bakery Men Don’t See has many recipes that are perfect for holiday baking.
  • Help us get the word out on social media via Twitter and Facebook. (If you haven’t joined the Tiptree Facebook page or followed us on Twitter, now’s a good time.)

Events of the last year make it clear that our society still has a long way to go regarding gender issues. At the Tiptree Award, we think that the first step in moving forward is to imagine a new world, one that is feminist, decolonial, anti-racist, anti-ableist, anti-fascist, and supportive of all gender identities. We see the Award and the Tiptree Fellowships as investments in the imagination we need to create that future. With your help, we’ll raise the funds we need to continue supporting and promoting speculative fiction that imagines worlds that are very different from the one we live in today.

Thanks for your support!

Applications for Tiptree Fellowships due September 15

For the third year, we are welcoming applications for Tiptree Fellowships: $500 grants for emerging creators who are changing the way we think about gender through speculative narrative.

If you think that description could apply to you — even if you are not working in a format most people would recognize as the science fiction or fantasy genre — you are eligible to apply for a Fellowship. Tiptree Fellows can be writers, artists, scholars, media makers, remix artists, performers, musicians, or something else entirely; so far our Fellows have been creators of visual art, poetry, fiction, and games.

The Tiptree Fellowship is designed to provide support and recognition for the new voices who are making visible the forces that are changing our view of gender today. The Fellowship Committee particularly encourages applications from members of communities that have been historically underrepresented in the science fiction and fantasy genre and from creators who are creating speculative narratives in media other than traditional fiction. In keeping with the focus of the Tiptree Award, the selection committee is seeking projects that explore and expand understandings of gender, particularly in relationship to race, nationality, class, disability, sexuality, age, and other factors that set individuals or groups apart as “other.” Fellowship applicants do not need a professional or institutional affiliation, as the intention of the Fellowship program is to support emerging creators who lack institutional support for their work.

The deadline is coming up soon, but there is still plenty of time to submit – applications are due on September 15. To apply, you will need to write short responses to two questions and to share a sample of your work – you can learn more about the application process at this link.

The selection committee for the 2017 Tiptree Fellowships will be Gretchen Treu (chair), Mia Sereno, Porpentine Charity Heartscape, and Pat Schmatz.

To read about the work of our previous Fellows, click on their names below:

A Farewell Message from Debbie Notkin

Debbie Notkin Tiptree Hoodie — 1Last November, after the disastrous U.S. election results, I resigned from the Tiptree Award motherboard. I have been involved with the award from immediately following Pat Murphy and Karen Joy Fowler’s creation of it more than a quarter of a century ago.

I remain deeply committed to the goals and work of the Tiptree Award. When I was trying to make this difficult decision, several people pointed out to me that the work of supporting transgressive artists is resistance, and I agree wholeheartedly. I just feel personally that it’s time for me to put my energy into other kinds of resistance and response.

Everyone on the motherboard and in the Tiptree organizing community has been completely and unambiguously supportive of my decision and this is my opportunity to thank them for everything they do, which is prodigious. It’s taken six months to write this letter to you partly because there’s been a lot to disentangle (and we’re still disentangling) and partly because part of me wants to stay centrally involved with this community that I love and admire so much.

I’m not going anywhere. I’ll be missing WisCon this year for the first time since we presented the very first Tiptree Award in Madison for reasons unrelated to the Tiptree Award, I fully expect to be back next year, and I eagerly await everyone’s con reports. I’ll miss seeing so many of you!

Debbie Notkin Tiptree Hoodie — 2I’ve established a personal Twitter account (@SpicejarDebbie) and will be following the Tiptree Award (of course!), so you can find me there,

Let’s keep changing the world together.

Anna-Marie McLemore Wins the 2016 Tiptree Award! Plus Honor List, Long List Announcements

2016 Tiptree Award Winner Anna-Marie McLemore Collage

Congratulations to Anna-Marie McLemore, who has won the 2016 Tiptree Award for her novel When the Moon Was Ours (Thomas Dunne Books/St. Martin’s Press, 2016).

About the Winner

When the Moon Was Ours by Anna-Marie McLemore is a fairytale about Samir, a transgender boy, and Miel, an orphan girl who grows roses from her wrists and is bullied as a result. In fact, there is a fairytale within the fairytale: the first chapter telling us the version of the story that mothers would tell children for years after — before also telling us what that story leaves out. Then the book takes us through all of it, step by step, exploring the heartache and frustration that being and loving differently generates. Beautifully, the novel never lets go of its unique magical realism framework. While the thoughts and emotions these characters share are incredibly familiar to anyone who is queer or trans or has loved someone who is trans, the imagery and particular scenarios the characters encounter are also completely bright and new.

In the author’s note at the end of the book, Anna-Marie McLemore tells us that when she was a teenager she fell in love with a transgender boy who would grow into the man she married. This is their story, reimagined as legend.

About the Honor lISt

2016 Tiptree Award Honor List Collage

In addition to selecting the winners, the jury chooses a Tiptree Award Honor List. The Honor List is a strong part of the award’s identity and is used by many readers as a recommended reading list. These notes on each work are excerpted and edited from comments by members of this year’s jury. This year’s Honor List is:

Eleanor Arnason, Hwarhath Stories:Transgressive Tales by Aliens (Aqueduct Press, 2016)

This is a wonderful collection of stories that examine the ways that culturally, deep-rooted assumptions around gender restrict vocation and recognition of skills. Arnason tells of a culture with significantly different gender assumptions and customs that lead to a number of subtly shifted societal impacts — both positive and negative.

Mishell Baker, Borderline (Saga Press, 2016)

A fascinating whodunit with wonderful characters, Borderline spotlights diversity and intersectionality. Most of the characters in this novel are viewed as disabled by others, even by each other. But the characters’ so-called disabilities give them advantages in certain situations. Understanding this helps the characters love each other and themselves. Almost every character can be described as having attributes that are both disabilities and advantages. What builds us up can bring us down. Or put another way: our imperfections are openings to beautiful achievements.

Nino Cipri, “Opals and Clay” (Podcastle, 2016)

A beautiful love story about solidarity. With just three major characters, this story does a lot with gender, demonstrating how gendering can be something one does to control or out of love.

Andrea Hairston, Will Do Magic for Small Change (Aqueduct Press, 2016)

A beautiful story of magic and love that spans two centuries and three continents, moving between times and places through a book-within-a-book structure. Its 1980s protagonists are a family who has been torn apart by an act of homophobic violence. Through a discovery of their past, they are able to reconnect and find love again. Among other things, this novel depicts an amazing range of queer characters. Importantly, the book de-colonizes these representations, making queerness not a white or American thing, but something that emerges in different shapes and structures at different times and places, particular to individuals as well as the cultures and communities that they are a part of.

Rachael K. Jones, “The Night Bazaar for Women Becoming Reptiles” (Beneath Ceaseless Skies, 2016)

A moving story set in a world where people live separate lives by night and day, with an opposite-sex lover by day and same-sex lover by night as the standard family structure. The theme of being trapped in one’s body and circumstances and in the customs of one’s times is dealt with well. The metaphor of a city/body that traps people in prisons of identity was very powerful. A surprising (yet well set up) twist to the story broadens its scope.

Seanan McGuire, Every Heart a Doorway (Tor Books, 2916)

This is a lovely YA novel about teenagers who return to our world, against their wishes, from magical lands that they entered through secret pathways — a magic door, an impossible stairway at the bottom of a trunk, a mirror. Their parents cannot understand their pain and misinterpret the stories their children tell and send their children to Miss West’s Home for Wayward Children. Miss West, herself a returned child, helps them deal with their separation or return to what they all think of as their real homes. This novel came to the attention of the Tiptree jury because of the reasons the children are taken from or rejected by their magical worlds. The protagonist, Nancy, is asexual, and finds an ideal world through her door. A character named Kade was born Katie, and discovers he is a boy, not a girl. He is thrown out of Fairyland as punishment for his transition. Two twin girls named Jack and Jill take up identities opposite from those their parents imposed upon them. There are beautiful lessons here about the importance of finding one’s home–that place where one can be one’s self. An emotionally engaging novel.

Ada Palmer, Too Like the Lightning (Tor Books, 2016)

This book will start conversations about gender, philosophy, religion, government, even war.The judges perceived contradictions within this book that may be resolved in the sequel, but these only serve to spark interest. In the future in which it is set (the twenty-fifth century of our world), gendered language is considered taboo in most circles and gender/sex-related cues are minimized and overlooked in clothing, vocation, and all other public areas of life. However, the book slowly reveals that gender stereotypes, sexism, and sexual taboos still remain strong despite the century’s supposed enlightenment and escape from such notions.

Johanna Sinisalo, The Core of the Sun (Grove Press/Black Cat, 2016)

This emotional, moving and thought-provoking novel, set in an alternate present in Finland, provides a critique of heteronormativity, eugenics, and all forms of social control, done uniquely and with humor. In this alternate present, the government values public health and social stability above all else. Sex and gender have been organized as the government sees fit, much to the detriment of women, who are bred and raised to be docile. All .drugs, including alcohol and caffeine, have long been banned. Capsaicin from hot peppers is the most recent substance to be added to the list. Our protagonist, Vera/Vanna, is a capsaicin addict. Consuming peppers provides an escape from a world that has treated her horribly. Most chapters are from Vera/Vanna’s perspective, but others relate the history, laws, fairytales, and other literature of this fictional Finland.

Nisi Shawl, Everfair (Tor Books, 2016)

In this gorgeous steampunk revisionist history of anticolonial resistance, a coalition of rebels defeat King Leopold and transform the former Belgian Congo into Everfair: a new nation whose citizens comprise Africans, European settlers, and Asian laborers. Told from many different perspectives, the story switches among the viewpoints of a dozen protagonists. This novel shows how relationships can grow over time between people of different races, classes, and religions as they build community together. Characters work through their internalized racisms and demonstrate how this is necessary for those in interracial relationships.

But Wait — There’s More!

In addition to the honor list, this year’s jury also compiled a long list of twelve other works they found worthy of attention.

Now What?

Anna-Marie McLemore, along with authors and works on the Honor List, will be celebrated during Memorial Day weekend at WisCon 41 in Madison, Wisconsin, May 26-29, 2017. She will receive $1000 in prize money, a specially commissioned piece of original artwork, and (as always) chocolate.

Each year, a panel of five jurors selects the Tiptree Award winner. The 2016 judges were Jeanne Gomoll (chair), Aimee Bahng, James Fox, Roxanne Samer, and Deb Taber.

Reading for 2017 will soon begin. The panel consists of Alexis Lothian (chair), E.J. Fischer, Kazue Harada, Cheryl Morgan, and Julia Starkey.

The Tiptree Award invites everyone to recommend works for the award. Please submit recommendations via our recommendation page. Full information on all the books mentioned above will be in the Tiptree Award database before the end of March 2017.

Video of 2016 Tiptree Symposium Now Available

Couldn’t make it to Eugene in December? Didn’t hear about it in time?

You’re in luck: The University has posted videos of all of the sessions, including the Sally Miller Gearhart Lesbian Lecture the day before.

December 1

Sally Miller Gearhart Lesbian Lecture, Dr. Alexis Lothian, “Queer Longings in Straight Futures: Notes Toward a Prehistory for Lesbian Speculation.” Dr. Lothian is a member of the Tiptree Award Motherboard.

December 2

Welcome and Panel 1: Ursula K. Le Guin and the Field of Feminist Science Fiction, with Karen Joy Fowler, Vonda N. McIntyre, Molly Gloss, Debbie Notkin and Suzy McKee Charnas, moderated by Julie Phillips. (For those keeping score, that’s one Founding Mother, one Motherboard member, four past winners, and four past jurors.)

UO Prof. Edmond Chang’s Feminist SF students on The Word for World is Forest, with Allison Ford, Lauren Stewart, Keegan Williams, and Kylie Pun

Keynote and Q & AUrsula Le Guin and the Larger Reality”

December 3

Panel 3: “Speculative Gender and The Left Hand of Darkness”, with micha cárdenas, Aren Aizura and Tuesday Smillie, moderated by Alexis Lothian. micha cárdenas was the inaugural Tiptree Fellowship recipient.
Panel 4: “Le Guin’s Fiction as Inspiration for Activism, with adrienne maree brown and Grace Dillon, moderated by Joan Haran (a past Tiptree Award juror).

Panel 5: Kelly Sue DeConnick and Ben Saunders: “New Directions in Feminist Science Fiction: A Conversation with Kelly Sue DeConnick
Keynote: Brian Attebery, “The James Tiptree Jr. Book Club: A Mitochondrial Theory of Literature.” Brian Attebery is a past Tiptree Award juror.

Check them all out; you’ll be glad you did.

2016 Fellowship Honorable Mentions

When we announced our 2016 Tiptree Fellows, we also mentioned that we had three honorable mentions this year: K. Tempest Bradford, Emily Coon, and Marianne Kirby. We’re delighted to tell you a little bit about them and their work:

K. Tempest Bradford is a writer of fiction and non-fiction who is best known for her media criticism and activism. She is currently working on her first novel: a steampunk narrative set in Ancient Egypt, which draws from her activism, her cultural critiques, and her desire for a narrative that includes people who look like me as well as other people who don’t often see themselves in fiction. The culture Bradford is building for this alternate history challenges ideas about the role of women in Ancient Egypt held by many Egyptologists and most people with casual knowledge of the dynastic era.

Emily Coon writes about trans relationships and the ways in which trans characters care for one another, particularly outside of a heterosexual monogamous bond and when dealing with living in poverty or near-poverty. They are currently completing a book of short stories that engage the complexities of gender through exploration of the multifaceted, nonbinary, personal intentions as regards gender, by letting the protagonists’ feelings be messy and by there not being a ‘right way’ to experience life as a trans person. In Coon’s writing being trans is a boon, trans people are not assaulted and traumatized simply because of their gender expression, and being trans is not only a process of discovery, but a process that results in collective liberation.

Marianne Kirby writes about fat characters because they have so many stories no one is telling; she writes about queer characters for the same reason. Her first novel, Dust Bath Revival, was published in November and grew out of her deeply held memories, anxieties, and celebrations as a fat, queer, white Southern woman with roots in small town Florida. In the novel the risen dead, the Reborn, are a way to examine the uncontrollable body (especially of women), insatiable hunger whether it be for food or sex, and what it means to embrace that hunger instead of to fight it— to allow one’s body to be out of control.

New York City Event Celebrates Tiptree/Sheldon

On Wednesday, January 11, 2017, at 7:00 p.m., at 484 14th Street, Brooklyn, NY, the Lesbian Herstory Archives and the literary journal Conjunctions will co-host a free gathering of writers and editors .Participants will wread from Tiptree’s letters to science fiction author Joanna Russ, and will discuss the importance of Tiptree’s work to their reading and writing lives. Almost all of the Tiptree/Russ letters were published for the first time this fall in Conjunctions:67, Other Aliens 

The event marks the first-ever public reading from Tiptree’s correspondence.

Speakers will include Deb Edel, Bradford Morrow; Micaela Morrissette; Nicole Nyhan; Ashley-Luisa Santangelo; Ellen Datlow; and Tiptree-Award winner Caitlín R. Kiernan.

Seating is first come, first served. Light refreshments will be served, and copies of Other Aliens will be available for sale. Optional $10 donations to the LHA are welcome. The space is fully accessible to those with physical disabilities.

The James Tiptree Book Club: A Mitochondrial Theory …

A collage of Brian Attebery’s final keynote

Professor Brian Attebery, who teaches English at Idaho State University and is editing Ursula K. Le Guin’s work for the Library of America, gave the closing keynote (full text now available at at the James Tiptree Symposium last weekend.

Prof. Attebery proposed a “mitochondrial theory of literature” in which he drew direct lines from Nike Sulway’s story “The Karen Joy Fowler Book Club” (check it out! the characters are all rhinoceri!) not only to Karen Joy Fowler’s work but also to Jane Austen, James Tiptree, Jr. (and Alice B. Sheldon). From there he found paths to Connie Willis, Nancy Kress, Ursula K. Le Guin, and Donna Haraway. And the paths just keep branching outwards.

The whole speech is well worth reading, as Attebery surefootedly takes us down several literary, academic, and biological paths, concluding with:

I would propose that everyone here is part of the James Tiptree Jr. Book Club, which is also the Ursula K. Le Guin Book Club, the Karen Joy Fowler Book Club, and so on. We are a set of interlocking cells, what one male SF writer suspiciously termed the Secret Feminist Cabal.* This, unfortunately, is a time for resistance: for secret cells and mutual support and active intervention in literary culture and the broader culture. Whenever a group of readers takes in a new book, that book becomes part of the collective DNA and a powerhouse for the cell, the conspiracy, the cabal. That is part of what Karen Joy Fowler tells us in “What I Didn’t See” and Nike Sulway tells us in “The Karen Joy Fowler Book Club.” Whatever we call the process, whether mitochondria or allusion or something else like the Exhilaration of Influence, it can serve as a corollary to Russ’s work. It shows How Not to Suppress Women’s Writing.

One of the slogans of the Tiptree Award is “World Domination Through Bake Sales.” I suggest we add a corollary to that: “World Insurgency (and Mitochondrial Power) Through Book Clubs.”

* A phrase the Tiptree Award immediately pounced on and made our own.

Photos from the Tiptree Symposium

If you missed the Tiptree Symposium, you might enjoy this panoply of pictures of all symposium participants (plus an extra shot from the Friday night Tiptree Award party). All photos by Jeanne Gomoll.

Vonda N. McIntyre, Molly Gloss, Karen Joy Fowler, Debbie Notkin, Suzy McKee Charnas, and Julie Phillips
Allison Ford, Lauren Stewart, Keegan Williams, and Kylie Pun from Professor Edmond Chang’s feminist science fiction class; moderator Philip Scher
Karen Joy Fowler giving her keynote speech
Filmmaker Arwen Curry introduces her documentary about Ursula Le Guin
Alexis Lothian announcing the 2016 Tiptree Fellowship winners
micha cárdenas, Aren Aizura, Tuesday Smillie, and Alexis Lothian
adrienne maree brown and Grace Dillon
Kelly Sue DeConnick, interviewed by Ben Saunders
A collage of Brian Attebery’s final keynote

Space Babe Gear for the Holidays


Hoodies modeled by Tiptree Motherboard officers, Karen Joy Fowler, Pat Murphy, Debbie Notkin, Jeanne Gomoll, and Ellen Klages (retired). Design by Jeanne Gomoll.

Also available: Official James Tiptree Jr. Award Space Babe shirts and mugs. All profits from these items go to support the James Tiptree Jr. Literary Award.

The zipper hoodie features a small front logo and a large back print. The pullover hoodie (Ellen is wearing one in the picture) features a large logo on the front.

Dark-colored shirts, hoodies and mugs
Light-colored shirts, hoodies and mugs