Damon Knight Memorial Grand Master Award
Awarded forExcellence in science fiction and fantasy writing, literary achievements
CountryUnited States
Presented byScience Fiction and Fantasy Writers Association
First awarded1974
Websitesfwa.org

The Damon Knight Memorial Grand Master Award is a lifetime honor presented annually by the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers Association (SFWA) to a living writer of fantasy or science fiction. It was first awarded in 1975, to Robert Heinlein. In 2002, it was renamed after Damon Knight, the founder of SFWA, who had died that year.[1]

The presentation is made at the annual SFWA Nebula Awards banquet, commonly during May, but it is not one of the Nebulas, which recognize the preceding calendar year's works and are selected by vote of all Association members. SFWA officers and past presidents alone submit Grand Master nominations and the final selection must be approved by a majority of that group.[2] The recipient is announced in advance, commonly during the preceding calendar year.

From 1995 to 2010, SFWA also gave some writers the title of Author Emeritus. In 2023, SFWA announced the creation of the Infinity Award, which posthumously honors creators who died before they could be considered for the Grand Master Award. The first recipient of the Infinity Award was Octavia E. Butler.[3]

History

The first Grand Master, Robert Heinlein, was named in 1975. The Grand Master Award was originally limited to six recipients per decade;[4] six were presented in the ten years to 1984 and twelve in the twenty years to 1994. From 1995, the award has been conferred annually, with the exception of 2002 and 2011.[2] Andre Norton was the first woman to receive the award, in 1984. As of 2024, Nalo Hopkinson is the youngest person to have received the award; she was aged 59.

From 1995 to 2010, SFWA also awarded the title of Author Emeritus "as a way to recognize and appreciate senior writers in the genres of science fiction and fantasy who have made significant contributions to our field but who are no longer active or whose excellent work may no longer be as widely known as it once was." Recipients were invited to speak at the annual Nebula Awards banquet.[5] Fourteen honorees were named in the sixteen years the award was given.[5] As of 2024, there has been no overlap between Grand Masters and Authors Emeritus. The award's status as a consolation prize was a matter of controversy,[6] and by October 2013 the Author Emeritus webpage had been removed by SFWA.[7]

Grand Masters

As of 2024, 40 Grand Masters have been created. The list below shows the year of the award ceremonies for each respective recipient. Awards are announced in advance of the ceremony, sometimes in the preceding year.[1]

Year Recipient Ref.
1975 Robert A. Heinlein (1907–1988)
1976 Jack Williamson (1908–2006)
1977 Clifford D. Simak (1904–1988)
1978
1979 L. Sprague de Camp (1907–2000)
1980
1981 Fritz Leiber (1910–1992)
1982
1983
1984 Andre Norton (1912–2005)
1985
1986 Arthur C. Clarke (1917–2008)
1987 Isaac Asimov (1920–1992)
1988 Alfred Bester (1913–1987)
1989 Ray Bradbury (1920–2012)
1990
1991 Lester del Rey (1915–1993)
1992
1993 Frederik Pohl (1919–2013)
1994
1995 Damon Knight (1922–2002)
1996 A. E. van Vogt (1912–2000)
1997 Jack Vance (1916–2013)
1998 Poul Anderson (1926–2001)
1999 Hal Clement (1922–2003)
2000 Brian W. Aldiss (1925–2017)
2001 Philip José Farmer (1918–2009)
2002
2003 Ursula K. Le Guin (1929–2018)
2004 Robert Silverberg (1935–)
2005 Anne McCaffrey (1926–2011)
2006 Harlan Ellison (1934–2018) [8]
2007 James Gunn (1923–2020)
2008 Michael Moorcock (1939–) [9][10]
2009 Harry Harrison (1925–2012) [11][12]
2010 Joe Haldeman (1943–) [13][14][15]
2011
2012 Connie Willis (1945–) [16][17][18]
2013 Gene Wolfe (1931–2019) [19][20][21][22]
2014 Samuel R. Delany (1942–) [23][24]
2015 Larry Niven (1938–) [25]
2016 C. J. Cherryh (1942–) [26][27]
2017 Jane Yolen (1939–) [28]
2018 Peter S. Beagle (1939–) [29][30][31][32]
2019 William Gibson (1948–) [33][34][35]
2020 Lois McMaster Bujold (1949–) [36]
2021 Nalo Hopkinson (1960–) [37][38]
2022 Mercedes Lackey (1950–) [39][40]
2023 Robin McKinley (1952–) [41]
2024 Susan Cooper (1935–) [42][43]

Infinity Award

In 2023, SFWA announced the creation of the Infinity Award, which posthumously honors creators who died before they could be considered for the Grand Master Award. SFWA President Jeffe Kennedy said, "Over the years, so many creators have been passed over for the Grand Master nod, for one reason or another. Some died tragically early. Others were not recognized for their work during their lifetimes because of cultural prejudices and blind spots."[3]

Year Recipient Ref.
2023 Octavia E. Butler (1947–2006) [3]
2024 Tanith Lee (1947–2015) [44]

Anthologies

In 1989, the anthology Grand Masters' Choice was published, edited by Andre Norton and Ingrid Zierhut. Three more anthologies honoring recipients of the Grand Master Award and collecting some of their short works have been published: The SFWA Grand Masters, Volume 1 (1999), The SFWA Grand Masters, Volume 2 (2000), and The SFWA Grand Masters, Volume 3 (2001), all edited by Frederik Pohl. Collectively, they honor the first fifteen recipients of the award.

See also

References

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  2. ^ a b "Damon Knight Memorial Grand Master" Archived 2013-03-08 at the Wayback Machine. Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America (SFWA). Retrieved 2013-04-01.
  3. ^ a b c "The Inaugural Infinity Award Honoree: Octavia E. Butler," Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers Association (SFWA), April 27, 2023.
  4. ^ Harlan Ellison (1994), Harlan Ellison's Watching 36, archived from the original on 2021-12-22, retrieved 2017-08-24
  5. ^ a b "SFWA Author Emeritus". SFWA. Archived 2013-04-09. Retrieved 2013-12-06.
  6. ^ "Other SFWA Awards" Archived October 16, 2011, at the Wayback Machine. The Locus Index to SF Awards: About the Awards. Locus Publications. Retrieved 2013-04-01.
  7. ^ "SFWA Author Emeritus" (unavailable). SFWA. Archived 2013-10-12. Retrieved 2013-12-06.
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  33. ^ "Gibson Named SFWA Grand Master". Locus Magazine. 2019-01-18. Archived from the original on 2019-12-06. Retrieved January 8, 2019.
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