Saturday, August 23, 2008

M.J. Engh to be honored by SFWA

Russell Davis, president of the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America, has announced that SFWA will be honoring Mary Jane Engh as the 2009 Author Emerita at the Nebula Awards Weekend next April. Here is a portion of SFWA's press release:

"Well, I hope 'emerita' doesn't mean 'over the hill,' but I'm truly honored -- blown away, in fact," Engh said. "It's nice to know that somebody has noticed me."

Under the pseudonym Jane Beauclerk, Engh published her first science fiction story, "We Serve the Star of Freedom," in the July 1964 issue of the Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction. Over the next four decades, her short fiction appeared in a wide range of markets including Universe 1, Isaac Asimov's Science Fiction Magazine and Arabesques.

In 1976 Engh published her first novel, Arslan, about a future United States conquered by a third-world power, to widespread critical acclaim. She followed that with Wheel of the Winds in 1988 and Rainbow Man in 1993.

"The reason I haven't been turning out SF in recent decades is that I'm up to my neck in historical projects," Engh said. "I've been working on The Womb of God, a projected trilogy of historical novels on the life and times of the 5th-century Roman empress Galla Placidia, and--the biggest time-absorber--collaborating with my historian friend Kathy Meyer on a massive reference work to be called Femina Habilis: A Biographical Dictionary of Active Women in the Ancient Roman World from Earliest Times to 527 C.E."

"Plus, I do have a few chapters of a science fiction novel I hope to finish someday," she said.

Engh's other works range from non-fiction (2007's In the Name of Heaven: 3,000 Years of Religious Persecution) to children's fiction (1987's The House in the Snow) as well as poetry. Her past honors include the National Endowment for the Arts Creative Writing Fellowship Grant, 1982, the Mellon "Starving Artist Award," 1997, and the Women's Classical Caucus Oral Paper Award for 1999, shared with Kathryn E. Meyer.

For the complete press release, go here.

1 comment:

Eileen Gunn said...

M.J. Engh is a remarkable writer.

There is a school of thought about science fiction that says one of the things it does is prepare people to deal with the future. Her novel _Arslan_, which I read in the late '70s or early '80s, seemed utterly off-the-wall at the time, totally surreal, completely improbable, about a military leader who comes out of Central Asia and tilts the balance of Western power in his savor. It actually did prepare me for the ensuing 30 years, and I am still surprised when I think of that.

I have been waiting for over 15 years for her novel about Galla Placidia, and I will keep waiting until it comes out, doggone it.

Way to go, M.J.!