Nalo Hopkinson, Science Fiction and Fantasy Writer
Because of the work that many people did before me to bring women’s voices to the field, I’m able to inhabit a science fiction community of my choice, where women are well represented in the writing, amongst the writers and in the discourse. But it’s still perfectly possible to be an SF aficionado and never encounter that side of the genre. It’s still perfectly possible to be told that women don’t write good SF, that we’re better at fantasy. Which is a crock. One thing I learned from working for years as a grants officer for an arts council is that if you have one set of traditional markers for assessing excellence in a particular art form, you will likely not recognize excellence from a tradition that uses another set of markers. Writing by women speaks to a different — though overlapping — set of realities than writing by men. Fully appreciating it takes learning to understand those realities.