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

In addition to the award itself, the judges publish a "Tiptree Award Honor List" that they describe as "a strong part of the award's identity and (...) used by many readers as a recommended reading list."[1]



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 science fiction writing was illusory. Years after "Tiptree" first published science fiction, Sheldon wrote some work under the female pen name "Raccoona Sheldon"; later, the science fiction world discovered that "Tiptree" had been female all along. 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 at the suggestion of Karen Joy Fowler.

Fundraising efforts for the Tiptree include publications (two cookbooks), "feminist bake sales", and auctions. (The Tiptree cookbook The Bakery Men Don't See, edited by WisCon co-founder Jeanne Gomoll, was nominated for a 1992 Hugo Award.) Tiptree Award juries traditionally consist of four female jurors and one male juror (the "token man").[2] The funds are administrated by the "Tiptree Motherboard" (currently consisting of Gomoll, Murphy, Alexis Lothian, Gretchen Treu, Sumana Harihareswara, and Jeffrey D. Smith, with Fowler remaining closely involved).[3]

Award to the Tiptree MotherboardEdit

In 2011, the Science Fiction Research Association gave its 2011 "Thomas D. Clareson Award for Distinguished Service" to the Tiptree Motherboard. The Clareson Award was presented to the Tiptree Motherboard for "outstanding service activities – promotion of SF teaching and study, editing, reviewing, editorial writing, publishing, organizing meetings, mentoring, and leadership in SF/fantasy organizations".[4]


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:

  • Flying Cups and Saucers: Gender Explorations in Science Fiction and Fantasy edited by The Secret Feminist Cabal and Debbie Notkin (1999)
  • The James Tiptree Award Anthology 1 edited by Karen Joy Fowler, Pat Murphy, Debbie Notkin, and Jeffrey D. Smith (2005)
  • The James Tiptree Award Anthology 2 edited by Karen Joy Fowler, Pat Murphy, Debbie Notkin, and Jeffrey D. Smith (2006)
  • The James Tiptree Award Anthology 3 edited by Karen Joy Fowler, Pat Murphy, Debbie Notkin, and Jeffrey D. Smith (2007)


See alsoEdit


  1. ^ a b Notkin, Debbie. "2015 Winners, Honor List, and Long List Announced!". James Tiptree, Jr. Literary Award. Retrieved 2 April 2016.
  2. ^ Merrick, Helen. The Secret Feminist Cabal: A Cultural History of Science Fiction Feminisms ISBN 978-1-933500-33-1 Seattle: Aqueduct Press, 2009; pp. 172–176
  3. ^ "Motherboard « James Tiptree, Jr. Literary Award". James Tiptree, Jr. Literary Award. Retrieved 2018-03-09.
  4. ^ "Tiptree Motherboard Receives Clareson Award" Locus Online August 29, 2011
  5. ^ "2010 Tiptree Award Winner Announced!". James Tiptree, Jr. Literary Award Council. Archived from the original on 9 April 2011. Retrieved 21 March 2011.
  6. ^ "2011 Tiptree Award Winner announced". James Tiptree, Jr. Literary Award Council. Retrieved 10 March 2012.
  7. ^ "2017 James Tiptree, Jr. Award". Retrieved 25 March 2018.

Further readingEdit

On James Tiptree, Alice Sheldon and bake sales, archived from the original on 1996-11-26, retrieved 2013-02-16

External linksEdit