Farah Mendlesohn

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Farah Mendlesohn
Panel pa Archipelacon (cropped, Farah Mendlesohn).jpg
Mendlesohn at Archipelacon in Mariehamn, 2015
Born (1968-07-27) 27 July 1968 (age 52)
Manchester, England
OccupationAcademic, writer
CitizenshipUnited Kingdom
SubjectCultural history, science fiction

Farah Jane Mendlesohn (born 27 July 1968) [1] is a British academic historian and writer on science fiction and fantasy literature, and an active science fiction fan.


Scholarly career

Mendlesohn was born in Manchester. She joined Staffordshire University in November 2016 as Prof & Assistant Dean, Law, Policing, Forensics & Sociology. [2] She was previously employed as Professor and Head of Department in the Department of English, Communication, Film and Media at Anglia Ruskin University. [3] Prior to that she was Reader in Science Fiction and Fantasy Literature in the Media Department at Middlesex University. She writes on the history of American religions and British and American science fiction and fantasy. She received her D. Phil. in History from the University of York in 1997. [4] She was the editor of Foundation - The International Review of Science Fiction from 2002 to 2007. She used to be reviews editor of Quaker Studies.

Awards and nominations

In 2005 she won the Hugo Award for Best Related Work for The Cambridge Companion to Science Fiction , which she edited with historian Edward James. James and Mendlesohn also edited The Cambridge Companion to Fantasy Literature , released in 2012, and wrote A Short History of Fantasy in 2009.

Her book Rhetorics of Fantasy won the BSFA award for best non-fiction book in 2009; the book was also nominated for Hugo and World Fantasy Awards.

In 2010 she was nominated twice for the Best Related Work Hugo, for The Inter-Galactic Playground: A Critical Study of Children's and Teens' Science Fiction, and for On Joanna Russ .

In 2017, she was nominated for a World Fantasy Special Award—Professional for Children's Fantasy Literature: An Introduction.

In 2020 her biography of Robert Heinlein (see below) was nominated for the Best Related Work Hugo.

Science fiction conventions

She is an active volunteer member of the administration for science fiction conventions. Among other events, she co-chaired ConCussion, the 2006 Eastercon, with Simon Bradshaw; [5] and was director of program for Anticipation and the Montreal World Science Fiction Convention in 2009; [6] She was on the convention committee of Loncon 3, the 72nd World Science Fiction Convention, until she resigned over the declaration that Jonathan Ross would be master of ceremonies for the presentation of the Hugo Awards; she remained division head for the convention's exhibits hall. [7]

Heinlein study

In 2017, Mendlesohn announced that her forthcoming critical study of Robert Heinlein would be published by the crowdfunding publisher Unbound, [8] and that if the funding exceeded the target any surplus would be divided between America's Blood Centers and Con or Bust (a non-profit corporation which helps people of color to attend Science Fiction and Fantasy Conventions). [9] As of October 2017 the pledges had exceeded the target by 18%. The book was published in 2019, under the title The Pleasant Profession of Robert A. Heinlein.

Selected works

As author
As editor

Related Research Articles

Joanna Russ

Joanna Russ was an American writer, academic and radical feminist. She is the author of a number of works of science fiction, fantasy and feminist literary criticism such as How to Suppress Women's Writing, as well as a contemporary novel, On Strike Against God, and one children's book, Kittatinny. She is best known for The Female Man, a novel combining utopian fiction and satire, and the story "When It Changed".

Robert A. Heinlein American writer

Robert Anson Heinlein was an American science fiction author, aeronautical engineer, and naval officer. Sometimes called the "dean of science fiction writers", he was among the first to emphasize scientific accuracy in his fiction, and was thus a pioneer of the subgenre of hard science fiction. His published works, both fiction and non-fiction, express admiration for competence and emphasize the value of critical thinking. His plots often posed provocative situations which challenged conventional social mores. His work continues to have an influence on the science-fiction genre, and on modern culture more generally.

Science fiction Genre of speculative fiction

Science fiction is a genre of speculative fiction that typically deals with imaginative and futuristic concepts such as advanced science and technology, space exploration, time travel, parallel universes, and extraterrestrial life. It has been called the "literature of ideas", and often explores the potential consequences of scientific, social, and technological innovations.

The BSFA Awards are literary awards presented annually since 1970 by the British Science Fiction Association (BSFA) to honour works in the genre of science fiction. Nominees and winners are chosen based on a vote of BSFA members. More recently, members of the Eastercon convention have also been eligible to vote.

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Zenna Chlarson Henderson was an American elementary school teacher and science fiction and fantasy author. Her first story was published in The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction in 1951. Her work is cited as pre-feminist, often featuring middle-aged women, children, and their relationships, but with stereotyped gender roles. Many of her stories center around humanoid aliens called "The People", who have special powers. Henderson was nominated for a Hugo Award in 1959 for her novelette "Captivity". Science fiction authors Lois McMaster Bujold, Orson Scott Card, Connie Willis, Kathy Tyers, and Dale Bailey have cited her as an influence on their work.

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Historical fantasy Genre of fiction

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History of fantasy

Elements of the supernatural and the fantastic were an element of literature from its beginning. The modern genre is distinguished from tales and folklore which contain fantastic elements, first by the acknowledged fictitious nature of the work, and second by the naming of an author. Works in which the marvels were not necessarily believed, or only half-believed, such as the European romances of chivalry and the tales of the Arabian Nights, slowly evolved into works with such traits. Authors like George MacDonald created the first explicitly fantastic works.

63rd World Science Fiction Convention

The 63rd World Science Fiction Convention (Worldcon) was called Interaction, and was held in Glasgow, Scotland 4–8 August 2005. The event was also the Eurocon. The Venue for the 63rd Worldcon was the Scottish Exhibition and Conference Centre (SECC) with the attached Clyde Auditorium and Moat House Hotel. Parties took place at the Hilton Hotel.

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<i>Foundation</i> (journal) Academic journal

Foundation: The International Review of Science Fiction is a critical peer-reviewed literary magazine established in 1972 that publishes articles and reviews about science fiction. It is published triannually by the Science Fiction Foundation. Worlds Without End called it "the essential critical review of science fiction", whilst The Encyclopedia of Science Fiction has called it "perhaps the liveliest and indeed the most critical of the big three critical journals". A long-running feature was the series of interviews and autobiographical pieces with leading writers, entitled "The Profession of Science Fiction", a selection of which was edited and published by Macmillan Publishers in 1992. Several issues have been themed, including #93, published also as part of the Foundation Studies in Science Fiction. The hundredth edition was unusual in that it was an all-fiction issue, including stories by such writers as Vandana Singh, Tricia Sullivan, Karen Traviss, Jon Courtenay Grimwood, John Kessel, Nalo Hopkinson, Greg Egan, and Una McCormack. Back issues of the journal are archived at the University of Liverpool's SF Hub whilst more recent issues can be found electronically via the database providers ProQuest.

<i>Mythago Wood</i>

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  1. "Mendlesohn, Farah". Revised 13 November 2014. The Encyclopedia of Science Fiction (sf-encyclopedia.com). Retrieved 26 March 2015. Entry by 'PKi', Paul Kincaid.
  2. "Staff Directory". Staffordshire University. Archived from the original on 23 December 2016.
  3. Professor Farah Mendlesohn – Department of English, Communication, Film and Media – Anglia Ruskin University Archived 28 July 2012 at archive.today
  4. Mendlesohn, Farah (1997). Practicing Peace: Quaker Relief work in the Spanish Civil War (DPhil thesis). University of York . Retrieved 29 May 2021.
  5. History – Eastercon
  6. AnticipationSF: English – Committee
  7. "Hugo MC Withdraws" Locus Online 3 March 2014
  8. Reisz, Matthew (25 October 2017). "Crowdfunding offers new opportunities to academic authors". Times Higher Education. Retrieved 30 October 2017.
  9. "Robert Heinlein". Unbound. Retrieved 30 October 2017.