Women in SF&F Month Banner

It’s April, and for the ninth year in a row, this month is dedicated to highlighting some of the many women doing wonderful work in speculative fiction! Starting tomorrow, this blog will be featuring guest posts by women doing work in science fiction and fantasy, discussing everything from their experiences and inspirations to thoughts on writing and speculative fiction to the current pandemic. I’m incredibly excited about sharing their essays with you over the next few weeks!

Women in SF&F Month was created after some discussions that took place in the online science fiction/fantasy book community around March 2012 regarding review coverage of books by women and the lack of women blogging about books being suggested for Hugo Awards in fan categories. Seeing the responses to these—including the argument that women weren’t being reviewed and mentioned because there just weren’t that many women reading and writing SFF—got me thinking about spending a month highlighting women reading, reviewing, and writing speculative fiction to show that there certainly are a lot of us. At that time, April was the earliest this could happen, and I was astounded by the number of authors and reviewers who accepted my invitation to write a guest post, as well as their wonderful pieces.

Things have changed a lot since 2012 and the years that closely followed it, but especially given that everything has seemed under threat lately, I think it’s important that women’s voices continue to be heard and have run the series every April since. One thing that has not changed is that I continue to be astounded by all the wonderful essays that are part of this series, and I am incredibly grateful to everyone who has written a piece for it.

There’s also an ongoing recommendation list project that has been part of it since the second year. In 2013, Renay from Lady Business not only wrote about her personal experience with finding it difficult to find books by women when she was starting out as a young genre fan but also asked readers to submit up to 10 SFF books by women that they loved. Those individual recommendations were made into a list containing the number of times a work was submitted, and we’ve collected new book recommendations and added to the list every year since.

After combining the entries from 2019 with those from previous years, the list has grown to include 2,710 individual titles, many of which have been recommended multiple times. (There is one book that has been recommended 58 times!) Once again, you can add up to 10 favorite SFF books by women here. If you’ve already added your favorites before (or find it too daunting to narrow down all of your favorites to just 10 books), you can add up to 10 of your favorite SFF books by women that you’ve read in the last year.

If you missed Renay’s essay last year, she wrote about history and described lists like this as follows:

“This is one way of remembering the past and writing the story for the future to look back on. It’s small, but history is a collection of small stories of human endeavors.”

I love this description and think it gets straight to the heart of it. Thank you, Renay!

I’m excited to start the guest posts tomorrow! This week’s schedule is as follows:

Women in SF&F Month 2020 Week 1 Graphic

April 7: Emily Skrutskie (Bonds of Brass, Hullmetal Girls, The Abyss Surrounds Us)
April 8: CW (The Quiet Pond)
April 9: K. S. Villoso (The Wolf of Oren-Yaro, The Agartes Epilogues)
April 10: Jennifer Estep (Crown of Shards, Elemental Assassins)