Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America

Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America
Formation 1965
Type 501(c)3 organization
Purpose SFWA informs, supports, promotes, defends and advocates for its members.
Headquarters Enfield, CT
Region served
Approx. 1,800 members[1]
Cat Rambo

Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America, or SFWA (/ˈsɪfwə/ or /ˈsɛfwə/) is a nonprofit 501(c)3 organization of professional science fiction and fantasy writers in the United States. It was founded in 1965 by Damon Knight under the name Science Fiction Writers of America, Inc. The president of SFWA as of 2015 is Cat Rambo.

SFWA has about 1,800 professionally published writer members worldwide.[1]

SFWA members vote for the Nebula Awards, one of the principal English-language science fiction awards.


SFWA informs, supports, promotes, defends and advocates for its members.[2]

SFWA activities include informing science fiction and fantasy writers on professional matters, protecting their interests,[3] and helping them deal effectively with agents, editors, anthologists, and producers in print and non-print media;[4] encouraging public interest in and appreciation for science fiction and fantasy literature; sponsoring, editing, and disseminating writings, papers, books, pamphlets, and other publications which exemplify science fiction and fantasy literature of high quality; conducting conferences, public discussion groups, forums, lectures, and seminar programs; and furnishing services connected with this stated purpose.


Front cover of no. 200 (Winter 2013), the issue that sparked the 2013 controversy

Science Fiction Writers of America, Inc. was founded in 1965 by a group of writers associated with the Milford Conference and headed by Damon Knight. According to Todd McCaffrey, the organization immediately "acquired great status in its efforts to help J.R.R. Tolkien get fair recompense in America for pirated sales of The Lord of the Rings."[5] Later, the name of the organization was changed to Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America, although the acronym SFWA was retained.

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.[6]

In September 2009, SFWA joined the Open Book Alliance to oppose the Google Book Settlement.[7] As a party to the class action suit, SFWA had recently explained its reservations about the settlement and declared its intention to file an objection.[8]

In 2013, the SFWA Bulletin was the subject of a controversy about sexism.[9] This led to a brief hiatus, followed by a reboot of the magazine in a modern, updated format.

In 2014, the original Massachusetts corporation was dissolved and SFWA reincorporated as a California nonprofit 501(c)3 organization with new bylaws.


SFWA participates in various trade shows and publishing industry events in the United States and abroad, including BookExpo America, the American Library Association Midwinter Conference, the USA Science & Engineering Festival, and several major (and minor) science fiction, fantasy and media conventions. SFWA holds a semi-annual business meeting at the World Science Fiction Convention (Worldcon) when it's held in North America, and at the North American Science Fiction Convention (NASFiC) otherwise.[10]

SFWA also hosts its own events, which include:

Advocacy and support

As an organization, SFWA acts as an advocate to effect important changes within the publishing industry, especially among publishers of science fiction and fantasy, by promoting author-friendly copyright legislation, equitable treatment of authors, and fair contract terms.

Writer Beware

SFWA sponsors Writer Beware, whose mission is to track, expose, and raise awareness of the prevalence of fraud and other questionable activities in and around the publishing industry. Writer Beware consists of the Writer Beware website, which provides the latest information on literary schemes, scams, and pitfalls; the Writer Beware blog, which provides up-to-the-minute information on specific scams and schemes, along with advice for writers and industry news and commentary; and the Writer Beware Facebook page, which posts links to articles, news items, and warnings of interest to writers, and provides a forum for discussion. Writer Beware receives additional support from the Mystery Writers of America and the Horror Writers Association.[12]

Writer Beware maintains an extensive database of complaints on questionable literary agents, publishers, independent editors, writers’ services, contests, publicity services, and others, and offers a free research and information service for writers. Writer Beware staff assist law enforcement agencies with investigations of literary fraud, and have been instrumental in the convictions of several literary scammers.


Greifcom, or the Grievance Committee, is formed of member volunteers who undertake to mediate writer disputes and grievances between member writers and their publishers.[4]

Emergency Medical Fund

SFWA's Emergency Medical Fund was established to assist eligible member writers who have unexpected medical expenses.

SFWA's Legal Fund was established to create loans for eligible member writers who have writing-related court costs and other related legal expenses.[13]

Estates Project

Headed by longtime SFWA member Bud Webster, the Estates Project maintains a list of the estates of deceased SFWA member writers and coordinates with living member writers to make arrangements for their future estates. The Estates Project also accumulates information about authors' archives for member writers, living or dead.29.[14]


Main article: Nebula Award


The SFWA Bulletin

Front cover of SFWA Bulletin no. 203 (Winter 2014), the first issue after reform

The SFWA Bulletin is a quarterly magazine that SFWA members receive as part of their membership, but it is also available (by subscription) to non-members. The Bulletin carries nonfiction articles of general interest to writers, especially science fiction and fantasy writers. It accepts submissions, for which the pay rate is 8 cents a word.[4] The current Bulletin editor is Neil Clarke.[18]

A special issue (no. 203) published in March 2014 was edited by Tansy Rayner Roberts and Jaym Gates and "was specially created to be used as an outreach tool for conventions and other events."[19] The issue's contents and cover were welcomed by some as an antidote to the perceived sexism of past issues[20] though Sue Granquist felt that something looked "suspiciously like a woman in a burka".[21]

In 2013, a controversy about sexism in the Bulletin led to the resignation of editor Jean Rabe on June 5, 2013.[22] More than 50 authors[23] wrote blog posts in objection to comments by longtime contributors Mike Resnick and Barry N. Malzberg that included references to "lady editors" and "lady writers" who were "beauty pageant beautiful" or a "knock out", an article by C. J. Henderson praising Barbie for maintaining "quiet dignity the way a woman should",[22] and the "exploitative"[23] cover image of no. 200 of the Bulletin depicting a woman in a chain-mail bikini. Several authors used the occasion to speak out against sexism in science fiction genre circles more broadly.[9] The controversy continued through Bulletin no. 202, which contained another column by Resnick and Malzberg, discussing the response to their earlier column.[24] Their column framed that response as censorship, referring to their critics as "liberal fascists".[25] In February 2014 a proposal to establish an advisory board to oversee content was met by a petition circulated by editor and critic Dave Truesdale supporting freedom of speech in the Bulletin.[26]

As a result of the controversy, SFWA president John Scalzi apologized to members,[27] and the Bulletin was put on hiatus for six months.[28] It reappeared with the Winter 2014 Special Issue, #203.

The Forum

The Forum is a quarterly publication that functions as SFWA's internal newsletter for members. As such, it is not available to non-members.

The SFWA Blog

SFWA also publishes short essays and other content relevant to writers on the SFWA Blog.


Most members live in the United States. Authors, regardless of nationality or residence, must be professionally published in a qualifying market as listed by SFWA in order to become SFWA members. At present, all listed qualifying markets publish only in the English language.[29]

Dues range from $70 for Affiliate membership up to $110 for Institutional membership.[29]

Board and administrative staff

SFWA Board members

As of July 2015, the board consists of the current president, vice president, secretary, treasurer, and five directors at large.

  • Sarah Pinsker (director at large)
  • Lee Martindale (director at large)
  • Matthew Johnson (director at large)
  • Tansy Rayner Roberts (director at large)
  • Jennifer Brozek (director at large)
Administrative staff


  1. 1 2 "History and Statistics". SFWA ( March 26, 2009. Retrieved 2011-07-26.
  2. "Who We Are". SFWA. Retrieved 2014-08-08.
  3. 1 2 3 Fiscus, Jim (Winter 2014). "SFWA Standards for Pay". The SFWA Bulletin. 26 (4): 43.
  4. McCaffrey, Todd (1999). Dragonholder: The Life and Dreams (so far) of Anne McCaffrey. New York: Ballantine. p. 57.
      Todd McCaffrey is the son of Anne McCaffrey, who was SFWA Secretary-Treasurer 1968–1970, responsible for production and distribution of the monthly SFWA Bulletin and SFWA Forum.
  5. "Nebula Awards". Ansible. June 1982. Retrieved 2009-08-07.
  6. "Open Book Alliance". Open Book Alliance. September 2, 2009. Retrieved 2011-07-26.
  7. "SFWA statement on proposed Google book settlement". SFWA. August 8, 2009. Retrieved 2015-07-16.
  8. 1 2 Flood, Alison (June 12, 2013). "Science fiction authors attack sexism amid row over SFWA magazine". The Guardian. Retrieved 2013-06-17.
  9. 1 2 Silver, Steven H (Winter 2014). "SFWA Annual Events". The SFWA Bulletin. 26 (4): 59.
  10. Silver, Steven H (Winter 2014). "The NY Reception". The SFWA Bulletin. 26 (4): 60.
  11. "About Writer Beware". SFWA. 1998–2013. Retrieved 2014-11-02. "Except for graphics, and where specifically indicated, all Writer Beware® contents copyright © 1998-2013 Victoria Strauss."
  12. Clough, Brenda W. (Winter 2014). "The Estates Project". The SFWA Bulletin. 26 (4): 13.
  13. "About the SFWA Grand Master Award". The Locus Index to SF Awards. Locus Publications ( Retrieved 2011-07-26.
  14. "SFWA Grand Master Award Winners By Year". The Locus Index to SF Awards. Locus. Retrieved 2011-07-26.
  15. "About the Other SFWA Awards". The Locus Index to SF Awards. Locus. Retrieved 2011-07-26.
  17. Gates, Jaym (February 27, 2014). "SFWA Bulletin Returns". SFWA. Retrieved 2014-03-29.
  18. Sanford, Jason (March 26, 2014). "The new SFWA Bulletin is blowing my mind". Jason Sanford ( Retrieved 2015-07-16.
  19. O'Neill, John (March 3, 2014). "The Return of The SFWA Bulletin". Black Gate: Adventures in Fantasy Literature ( Retrieved 2015-07-16. Comment by Sue Granquist (March 5, 2014): "That “fantastic piece of cover art” looks suspiciously like a woman in a burka. ‘Nuff said.."
  20. 1 2 Anders, Charlie Jane (June 6, 2013). "The editor of SFWA's bulletin resigns over sexist articles". io9. Retrieved 2013-06-07.
  21. 1 2 Griner, David (June 4, 2013). "Will the Fantasy Genre Ever Grow Up and Ditch the Chainmail Bikini? Industry bulletin's cover sets off firestorm". Adweek. Retrieved 2013-06-07.
  22. Romano, Aja (June 7, 2013). "SFWA sexism rocks the science-fiction blogosphere". The Daily Dot. Retrieved 2015-07-16. Last updated February 25, 2014.
  23. Resnick, Mike; Malzberg, Barry N. (Summer 2013). "Talk Radio Redux". The SFWA Bulletin. 47 (3): 45–50. Archive copy retrieved 2015-07-16.
  24. Romano, Aja (10 February 2014). "Controversial email inflames sexism debate in sci-fi community". Retrieved 21 September 2016.
  25. Scalzi, John (June 2, 2013). "Presidential Statement on the SFWA Bulletin". SFWA. Retrieved 2013-06-17.
  26. "Plan for Moving Ahead with the Bulletin". SFWA. June 13, 2013. Retrieved 2013-06-17.
  27. 1 2 "Membership Requirements". SFWA. Retrieved 2014-08-08. Effective with Bylaws May 15, 2014. Updated March 1, 2015. Previous membership requirements available.
This article is issued from Wikipedia - version of the 11/29/2016. The text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share Alike but additional terms may apply for the media files.