Tuesday, May 02, 2006


Maybe five or six years ago, writer Laura Resnick had a swell idea: why not establish a listserve for women who wrote science fiction and fantasy? Not exactly a professional organization, but a place where we could exchange ideas, ask for advice, swap gossip a little, announce our triumphs and complain as necessary. I joined the SFF-FW list shortly after it was formed; it now has Idunnamany women on it, and it has been a nice community to be part of. Last year, when Andre Norton was declining, a discussion began about how important she had been to many of the writers on the list; out of the discussion the idea arose of letting her know how important she had been, giving her an award or a gift or something from her peers--women writing science fiction and fantasy. Why stop there, we thought? In the end, SFF-FW gave Betty Ballantine, Madeleine L'Engle, Anne McCaffrey, Ursula K. Le Guin, Kate Wilhelm, Joanna Russ, and Andre Norton the "Roots in Writing" award: a plaque, and a tree or planting of their choice, meant to signify that these women were all, in some way, the roots from which our membership had grown. We all thought this was a one-time thing, and then this year we somehow found ourselves doing this again--but a little more modestly, with one recipient, Jane Yolen.

Elsewhere on the web I've seen a comment to the effect that SFF-FW is a "self-proclaimed and unknown group." Well, yes. Most groups are self-proclaimed, and we have not been much interested in being known beyond our membership. But if anyone out there is wondering who these people are and what the Roots in Writing award is, well, this is it.


Blogger stay_c said...

That is so awesome! You listed some of my favorite authors who hold through to reading as an adults as well as when I was a teen.

7:42 AM  
Blogger Janni said...

I figure the point of the group isn't to be known in the first place, though we're not trying to hide, either. We're a group of writers with things to learn from each other, and we wanted to thanks those who've led the way for all we've learned from them. It's never been about promoting the group, but about thanking these wonderful women for all they've done.

12:53 PM  
Blogger Madeleine Robins said...


6:17 PM  
Blogger Gregory Feeley said...

I posted somewhere a few weeks ago on the "self-proclaimed" issue. Someone mentioned "self-appointed pundits" in his blog and I pointed out that all pundits are self-appointed -- you get an editor to publish you, but you decide that you want to be a one, just like a writer, or artist, or opera singer does -- and that the phrase (usually taking the form "self-appointed critic") is a more or less meaningless pejorative, used only to describe someone whose critique you object to, content-free as a criticism.

The person then made an ungracious post about "self-appointed blog cops" (meaning, apparently, me) and I took myself elsewhere. But I'm glad to see Mad make the point.

3:12 AM  
Blogger Madeleine Robins said...

The "self-proclaimed" thing reminds me of a decades-old 2000 Year Old Man routine: "I put my hand on a rock, I looked up at the sky, and I said I am--" something or other.

8:15 AM  
Blogger Gregory Feeley said...

I hope that Madeleine (who seems to have rusticated) had a happy Mother's Day -- the tradition in her family being, as I recall, breakfast in bed whether you like it or not, with tepid scrambled eggs and interestingly done toast. (I trust the coffee was fresh.)

4:33 PM  

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