Women in SF&F Month Banner

It’s now April, and for the tenth 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 on weekdays throughout the month.

They will be discussing a variety of topics—their inspirations and those works that influenced their paths; creating their stories and characters; the reception of female characters with certain traits, like intelligence and power; dark fantasy and horror; dreams and fantasy; food and fantasy; obstacles encountered when writing, and when trying to write during a global pandemic; and far more than I can adequately sum up here. I’m incredibly excited to share all of their essays with you throughout this month!

The Women in SF&F Month Origin Story

In case you are unfamiliar with how April came to be Women in SF&F Month here: It started way back in 2012, following some discussions about review coverage of books by women and the lack of women blogging about books being suggested for Hugo Awards in fan categories in March. Some of the responses to these—especially the claim that that women weren’t being reviewed and mentioned because there just weren’t that many women reading and writing SFF—made me want to spend a month highlighting women doing work in the genre to show that there are a lot of us, actually.

So I decided to see if I could pull together an April event focusing on women in science fiction and fantasy, and thanks to a great many authors and reviewers who wrote pieces for the event, it happened! I was—and continue to be—astounded by the fantastic guest posts that have been written for this series. And I am so, so grateful to everyone who has contributed to it over the last decade.

The Favorite SF&F Books by Women Project

During the second Women in SF&F Month in 2013, Renay from Lady Business began the Favorite SF&F Books by Women Project (linked in the sidebar). She 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 over the last few years.

The latest entries were recently combined with the submissions from previous years, resulting in a list of 2,743 titles, several of which have been recommended more than once. (Ann Leckie’s Ancillary Justice has been recommended 58 times, and N. K. Jemisin’s The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms has been recommended 45 times!)

The latest version of the list will be the last we work on as part of this event. Unexpected changes to Goodreads API took it offline for part of last year’s poll and, in any case, the point has been made—and if you’re looking to read more speculative fiction by women, or for speculative fiction books that SFF readers recommend, there are 2,700+ titles to start with! Thank you to everyone who has contributed favorite books over the years, and a big THANK YOU to Renay for its creation and her work on this project. As she said in her 2019 essay:

“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.”

A big thank you also to my husband, John, who developed the list website and merged the data from year to year.

This Week’s Schedule

I’m very excited about this month’s guest posts, which start tomorrow! This week’s schedule is as follows:

Women in SF&F Month Week 1 Book Cover Graphic

April 7: R.S.A. Garcia (Lex Talionis, “The Sun from Both Sides,” “The Bois”)
April 8: E. J. Beaton (The Councillor)
April 9: S.B. Divya (Machinehood, Runtime, Escape Pod)