Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America: Wikis


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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America, or SFWA (pronounced /ˈsɪfwə/ or /ˈsɛfwə/)[1], was founded in 1965 by Damon Knight. The organization was founded under the name Science Fiction Writers of America, Inc., and retains the acronym SFWA after a very brief use of the acronym SFFWA.



SFWA is a nonprofit association of science fiction and fantasy writers. The "America" in the organization's title refers to their primary focus of author advocacy in the United States.

SFWA sponsors the Writer Beware Blog, the public face of their Committee on Writing Scams, to expose problems and pitfalls that face aspiring writers. Writer Beware also receives sponsorship from the Mystery Writers of America. Its mission is to raise awareness of the prevalence of fraud and other questionable activities in and around the publishing industry.[2]

As part of this mission, SFWA members submitted an 'unpublishable' manuscript to independent publishing house PublishAmerica, to test their claimed editorial rigor. When PublishAmerica offered to send them a contract to publish Atlanta Nights, they revealed the hoax, and PublishAmerica withdrew the contract offer.[3] SFWA subsequently listed the book for sale through a Print On Demand service, with all profits to benefit their Emergency Medical Fund.[4]

Recently, SFWA joined the Open Book Alliance to oppose the Google Book Settlement.

Membership and eligibility

SFWA has approximately 1,500 members as of 2009.

Most members live in the United States. Active membership is limited to professionally published authors in the genres of science fiction, fantasy, or horror; the minimum qualification is the sale of one novel or dramatic script, or three short stories, to venues with certain minimum circulations or pay rates. Associate membership is for professionally published authors who have not yet qualified for active membership. [5]

Authors, regardless of nationality or residence, must be professionally published in the English language in order to qualify as SFWA members.

Nebula Award

SFWA members select the Nebula Award winners each year for the best short story, novelette, novella, novel, and script.

SFWA also presents the Andre Norton Award each year for best young adult novel, the occasional Bradbury Award for best dramatic presentation, the Author Emeritus recognition to a senior writer whose major impact was long ago or overlooked, and the Damon Knight Memorial Grand Master Award for lifetime achievement in science fiction or fantasy.




The SFWA has been involved in its share of controversies and misunderstandings.

Creative Commons proponent, past Director, and member of SFWA Cory Doctorow wrote of an over-broad and inappropriate DMCA takedown notice sent to online hosting site scribd in 2007 by SFWA, on behalf of some members. SFWA President Michael Capobianco issued an apology for the error and worked to have the mistakenly-removed content restored.[6]

In 1982, Lisa Tuttle withdrew her short story "The Bone Flute" from the final Nebula ballot, to protest what she saw as excessive campaigning for awards and that voters did not receive copies of nominated works. Her withdrawal was sent after voting had been completed. When informed she had won, she contacted SFWA and told them she refused to accept it. She was told that her reasons for doing so would be announced. Her publisher accepted the award in her place, apparently with no knowledge of her withdrawal, and there was no mention of her objection.[7]

In the mid 1970s, Polish writer Stanislaw Lem was given an honorary membership when he was ineligible for membership since his work had not been published in the US. When he became eligible for regular membership, the honorary membership was rescinded, as required by the by-laws. An alternate explanation holds that SFWA members were reacting to the publication of an article by Lem which was critical of contemporary SF, as well as Lem's politics, and voted to rescind the membership.[8] Information posted on the SFWA website can be found at

See also


External links

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