The Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America (SFWA) has announced that C.J. Cherryh has been named the 32nd Damon Knight Grand Master for her contributions to science fiction and fantasy literature.
Cherryh joins the ranks along with Ray Bradbury, Joe Haldeman, Anne McCaffrey, Isaac Asimov, and Ursula K. LeGuin. The award was named for science fiction author and critic Damon Knight, who was the 13th recipient of the award, following his death in 2002. Knight’s most known work is perhaps To Serve Man, which was adapted as an episode of The Twilight Zone.
Born in St. Louis, MO, Caroline Janice Cherry moved to Lawton, OK at age seven, shortly thereafter taking up the craft of writing under the pen name “C.J. Cherryh”. She earned a Bachelor’s in Latin from the University of Oklahoma, and has a master’s in classics from Johns Hopkins University. She’s taught Latin, Greek, and ancient history, and has been a semi-professional archeological photographer. This experience has informed much of her rich world-building in her stories.
Cherryh also has three Hugo Awards and the 1977 John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer (Gate of Ivrel, published in 1976 by DAW Books), as well as several nominations for Nebula, Locus, and other awards.
“As a longtime reader and re-reader of Cherryh’s works,” said SFWA president Cat Rambo, “I am thrilled beyond measure to be able to recognize her contribution to the field in this way. She is a master of long-running series involving worlds and characters that the reader can visit and revisit with a true sense of wonder each and every time.”
In a statement, Cherryh said, “I never expected this. I’m honored to join the ranks of so many illustrious writers. I have a lot of books left to write, a lot of books I want to write, stories I want to tell. I thank my publishers, who keep me in print—I thank my agent, as well. I thank everybody, profoundly, who gives me the chance to do that. And I plan to keep the books coming.”
The Damon Knight Award will be presented as part of the Nebula Awards program during the 51st SFWA Nebula Conference in Chicago. The conference runs May 12-15 and will also feature seminars and panel discussions about the craft of writing speculative fiction.