Mary Robinette Kowal
Nebula and Hugo Award-winning author, Mary Robinette Kowal is a novelist and professional puppeteer. In 2008 she won the Astounding Award for Best New Writer and her debut novel Shades of Milk and Honey (Tor 2010) was nominated for the 2010 Nebula Award for Best Novel. In 2019, the first book in the Lady Astronaut series The Calculating Stars (Tor 2018), won the Hugo, Nebula and Locus awards, becoming one of only eighteen novels to do so. Her stories have appeared in Strange Horizons, Asimov’s, and several Year’s Best anthologies, as well as in her collection Scenting the Dark and Other Stories from Subterranean Press. Her short story collection Word Puppets was published in 2015, and includes both of her Hugo Award-winning stories in addition to fifteen others, running the full range of speculative fiction. In 2016, her World War I fantasy novel Ghost Talkers was published by Tor books, followed in 2018 by her alternate history Lady Astronaut series.
From 2019-2021, Kowal was the President of the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America.
In 2011, after several appearances as a guest star on the podcast Writing Excuses, Kowal became a permanent member of the cast. In 2013, the seventh season of the podcast won the Hugo Award for Best Related Work. Her involvement in the podcast also contributed to the creation of the Shadows Beneath anthology, in which Kowal and her three co-hosts contributed short stories alongside materials charting the unique creative process of each author.
Kowal is also an award-winning puppeteer. In high school, she took up puppetry as a hobby, but as Kowal says, she “never thought of it as something you could get paid for.” Instead, she went to East Carolina University to pursue an art degree, minoring in theater and speech. While performing as Audrey II in a performance of Little Shop of Horrors, she learned that a professional puppeteer had come to the show. It was a turning point. Kowal went on to intern at the Center for Puppetry Arts in Atlanta, GA. With over twenty years of experience, she has performed for LazyTown (CBS), the Center for Puppetry Arts, Jim Henson Pictures, Sesame Street, and founded Other Hand Productions. Her designs have garnered two UNIMA-USA Citations of Excellence, the highest award an American puppeteer can achieve.
Her career in puppetry consumed much of Kowal’s creative energy for over ten years. Although she wrote in high school and college, it wasn’t until her brother moved his family to China that she began writing again. Like Lewis Carroll and J.M. Barrie, she started creating children’s fantasy as a way to stay connected to her young niece and nephew. Reminded of how much she enjoyed writing, she began submitting short stories and made her first sale in 2005, and her first professional sale to Strange Horizons in 2006.
When she isn’t writing or puppeteering, Kowal brings her speech and theater background to her work as a voice actor. She is a member of SAG/AFTRA. She has recorded audio books and short stories for authors such as Seanan McGuire, Cory Doctorow and John Scalzi. She likes to describe voice acting as “puppetry, without the pain.”
Mary Robinette lives in Nashville with her husband Rob and over a dozen manual typewriters. She has been known to travel with and even write on them. Visit www.maryrobinettekowal.com.
Philip Reeve was born in Brighton in 1966. He trained as an illustrator, and worked for many years providing cartoons and illustrations for the Horrible Histories and Murderous Maths books. His first novel, the epic Mortal Engines, was published in 2001. It went on to win the Smarties and Blue Peter prizes. A movie adaptation, directed by Christian Rivers and produced by Peter Jackson, was released in 2018.
Mortal Engines was followed by three sequels – Predator’s Gold, Infernal Devices, and A Darkling Plain – and three prequels; Fever Crumb, A Web of Air, and Scrivener’s Moon. A collection of related short stories, Night Flights, with illustrations by Ian McQue, was published in 2018, along with The Illustrated World of Mortal Engines, co-written with Jeremy Levett and featuring artwork by an array of illustrators.
Here Lies Arthur, Philip’s take on the Arthurian legends, won the Carnegie Medal. He is also the author of the Goblins trilogy of comic fantasy stories and the space fantasy Larklight (illustrated by David Wyatt).
In 2013 he joined forces with illustrator Sarah McIntyre to create Oliver and the Seawigs, the first in a series of funny, highly-illustrated adventure stories which continued with Cakes in Space, Pugs of the Frozen North, Jinks and O’Hare Funfair Repair and the activity book Pug-A-Doodle-Do. Their latest books together are the Roly Poly Flying Pony series: The Legend of Kevin, Kevin’s Great Escape and Kevin and the Biscuit Bandit.
Philip returned to older fiction in 2015 with Railhead, a critically acclaimed adventure set in a future populated by thieves and androids, exiles and emperors, insects and intelligent trains. The sequel, Black Light Express, was published in 2016, and the trilogy concludes with Station Zero (2018).
He is currently at work on a new fantasy novel, Utterly Dark and the Face of the Deep, to be published by David Fickling Books in September 2021
Philip lives on Dartmoor with his wife and son.
Tasha Suri is the award-winning author of The Books of Ambha duology (Empire of Sand and Realm of Ash) and the epic fantasy The Jasmine Throne. Her upcoming novels include The Oleander Sword, sequel to The Jasmine Throne, and What Souls Are Made Of, a YA remix of Wuthering Heights. She is a writing tutor, an occasional librarian and cat owner.
She has won the Best Newcomer (Sydney J. Bounds) Award from the British Fantasy Society and has been nominated for the Astounding Award and Locus Award for Best First Novel. Her debut novel Empire of Sand was named one of the 100 best fantasy books of all time by TIME magazine. When she isn’t writing, Tasha likes to cry over TV shows, buy too many notebooks, and indulge her geeky passion for reading about South Asian history. She lives with her family in a mildly haunted house in London.
Nicholas Whyte is originally from Belfast, but has lived in Belgium since 1999. He was the DH for Promotions at Loncon 3 in 2014, and then Hugo Administrator in 2017 and 2019, deputy Hugo administrator in 2020 and 2022 and WSFS DH at DisCon III in 2021, as well as being one of the Arthur C. Clarke Award judges in 2015. He is a particular fan of Doctor Who, and is briefly visible in Peter Davison’s “The Five(ish) Doctors Reboot”.
In his day job, he is a political consultant in Brussels, and advised the last three counties to become independent (Montenegro, Kosovo and South Sudan). Having failed as a political candidate in Northern Ireland, he compensates by doing election night commentaries for the BBC in Belfast. He and his wife Anne have three adult children, two of whom live in permanent residential care. He still blogs at Livejournal even though all the cool people have gone elsewhere.