James Tiptree, Jr. Award

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The James Tiptree, Jr. Award is an annual literary prize for works of science fiction ("SF") or fantasy that expand or explore one's understanding of gender. It was initiated in February of 1991 by SF authors Pat Murphy and Karen Joy Fowler, subsequent to a discussion at WisCon (the world's leading feminist-oriented science fiction convention).



The award is named for Alice B. Sheldon, who wrote under the pseudonym James Tiptree, Jr. By choosing a masculine nom de plume, having her stories accepted under that name and winning awards with them, Sheldon helped demonstrate that the division between male and female SF writing was illusory. Years after "Tiptree" first published SF, Sheldon wrote some work under the female pen name "Raccoona Sheldon"; later, the SF world discovered that "Tiptree" had been female all along. According to the Tiptree Award council, this discovery led to widespread discussion over which aspects of writing, if any, have an intrinsic gender. To remind audiences of the role gender plays in both reading and writing, the award was named in Sheldon's honor.

Fundraising efforts for the Tiptree have included publications (two cookbooks), feminist bake sales, and auctions.


Selections of the winners, various short listed fiction, and essays have appeared in four Tiptree-related collections, Flying Cups and Saucers (1999) and a series of annual anthologies published by Tachyon Publications of San Francisco. These include:

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