When I was working up my post for Juneteenth (African American Science Fiction and Horror Writers), I was pleasantly surprised by how many on the list were female. I honestly wasn’t expecting it to work out that way. So, it’s obvious there are some notable females writing in science fiction and horror. But one list just isn’t enough. So today we’re revisiting a segment of this, with a slight modification.
Every female in this list is from (or has chosen as her permanent residence) a country that isn’t the USA or Britain. There are lots of fantastic authors from both the US and Britain, but, let’s face it, they get 99 percent of the attention. Time to shake that up a bit.
This is the first in a planned series where I take some time to highlight notable female science fiction authors from around the world. It’s just too bulky of a piece to post all at once.
To be clear: This is an introduction to these authors, nothing more. While I have referenced some book lists and whatnot, I’m not qualified to do a full write-up on these talented women. I’ve given you the information, and at the bottom I’ve linked you to a database where you can visit their websites when available (wikipedia when not). I hope you take the time to investigate some of the names and hopefully find some new authors to check out!
Canadian Science Fiction Authors
Canada has given us some fantastic female science fiction authors, and some stories to really sink our teeth into. You may recognize one of Canada’s leading ladies of SF right away. Her name is Margaret Atwood, and she’s best known at the moment for her book The Handmaid’s Tale.
But she’s definitely not the only Canadian writer of note. They also have Candas Jane Dorsey, Esther Rochon, Joan D. Vinge, Tanya Huff and Madeline Ashby. Candas Jane Dorsey is the founder of SF Canada. Esther Rochon won the Quebec Science Fiction Fantasy Grand Prix four times. Joan D. Vinge’s novel, The Snow Queen, won the Hugo Award for best novel in 1981.
They had Nalo Hopkinson until 2011. Then we lured her to the dark side. But considering she lived there from the time she was sixteen until fairly recently, I’m counting her as Canadian. Nalo Hopkinson won a Locus Award for Best First Novel for Brown Girl in the Ring.
And not forgetting the ladies who have passed on, but made their mark: Phyllis Gotlieb, Monica Hughes, Edna Mayne Hull (published under E. Mayne Hull).
Looking for specific book suggestions? You can start here.
Australian Science Fiction Authors
Australia is another country with a solid double handful of talented female science fiction writers. What young adult science fiction fan doesn’t know the name Amie Kaufman? Kaufman partnered with Jay Kristoff to produce the Illuminae series, which has received recognition not only for its unique formatting but for the stories the series tells. Though maybe not quite as familiar as Amie Kaufman, Kim Westood is also rather notable. She’s a name those with a penchant for darker works should pay attention to, and has won awards for both her science fiction and horror work. I’m sure readers are probably familiar with Lotus Blue by Cat Sparks as well. Lotus Blue is hardly Spark’s first work, though it is her first novel. She has been nominated multiple times for awards for her short fiction (and won more than a few.) She also co-owns Agog! Press.
Marianne de Pierres has won 2 Aurealis awards for Best Science Fiction Novel, as well as Ditmar for Best Novel. (The Ditmar’s like the Hugo, but for Australia only.) Rosaleen Love has been nominated for the Ditmar award 6 times and won the Chandler Award in 2009 for her work. If you like Dr. Who, you might be familiar with the name Kate Orman, who is well-known for her Dr. Who related novels.
Majorie Barnard and Flora Eldershaw formed the team called M. Bernard Eldershaw, and produced one of the earliest recognized works of Australian Science Fiction. Flora Eldershaw became the first woman president of the Fellowship of Australian Writers. Alison Goodman’s debut novel won an Aurealis for Best Young Adult Novel. She won a second Aurealis for a fantasy novel, and has also received the James Tiptree, Jr. award. Norma K. Hemming is considered to be Australia’s first significant female science fiction writer. There is now an award given out by the Australian Science Fiction Foundation under her name. It is “given to mark excellence in the exploration of themes of race, gender, sexuality, class and disability in a speculative fiction work (e.g. science fiction, fantasy, horror) by an individual author, produced either in Australia or by Australian citizens” (from ASFF.org.au)
And I have to give a nod to author D.L. Richardson who does sci-fi, fantasy, and horror and is just a lovely person.
These two countries have, by far, the most female science fiction writers of any of the posts that I will do. I almost feel like I’m cheating because a lot of these names are well-known. I assure that will change as we work our way further down the list! Also, I know that I didn’t include every single female science fiction writer. That’s just not plausible. This would be nothing more than a list of names. (Though, if you want that, click here for my little database of female science fiction writers)
Sources not mentioned in links in text: