The Nebula Awards® are voted on and presented by full, senior, and associate members of the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers Association. Founded as the Science Fiction Writers of America in 1965 by Damon Knight, the organization began with a charter membership of 78 writers; it now has over 2,000 members, among them many of the leading writers of science fiction and fantasy.
Lloyd Biggle, Jr., the SFWA’s first secretary-treasurer, originally proposed in 1965 that the organization publish an annual anthology of the best stories of the year. This notion, according to Damon Knight in his introduction to Nebula Award Stories: 1965 (Doubleday, 1966), “rapidly grew into an annual ballot of SFWA’s members to choose the best stories, and an annual awards banquet.”
Since 1965, the Nebula Awards® have been given each year to outstanding novel, novella, novelette, and short stories eligible for that year’s award. The Damon Knight Grand Master, SFWA’s award for lifetime achievement in writing science fiction and/or fantasy, is an honor presented annually to no more than one living writer. It was inaugurated in 1975 and was renamed in 2002 after the organization’s founder, Damon Knight.
The Andre Norton Nebula Award for Middle Grade and Young Adult Fiction was added in 2005, followed by the Ray Bradbury Nebula Award for Outstanding Dramatic Presentation in 2009, and the Nebula Award for Best Game Writing in 2018. An anthology including the winning pieces of short fiction and several finalists has been published every year since 1966. It was known as the Nebula Awards Showcase and the year from 2000 to 2019; starting in 2020 the series number replaced the year. The latest edition is Nebula Awards Showcase 55
Over the years, the Nebula Awards banquet grew to become the SFWA Nebula Awards Conference, one of the premier professional development conferences for speculative fiction industry professionals and people aspiring to become one. It takes place each spring.
The following awards are also presented at the annual SFWA Nebula Awards Conference:
The Kate Wilhelm Solstice Award is given by SFWA for distinguished contributions to the science fiction and fantasy community. SFWA may award up to three Solstice Awards per year. It may be presented posthumously. The Solstice Award was first presented in 2009 and was renamed the Kate Wilhelm Solstice Award in honor of author Kate Wilhelm, a winner of the award in 2009. A complete list of recipients can be found here.
The Kevin O’Donnell, Jr. Service to SFWA Award recognizes a member of SFWA who best exemplifies the ideal of service to their fellow members. It was first presented at the 1995 Nebula Award Weekend and was named in honor of SFWA volunteer extraordinaire Kevin O’Donnell, Jr., who received the award in 2005, after his death in 2012. A complete list of recipients can be found here.
In 2023, the SFWA Board voted to create the Infinity Award to posthumously honor acclaimed creators who passed away before they could be considered for a Damon Knight Memorial Grand Master Award. This new award aims to recognize that even though those celebrated worldbuilders, storytellers, and weavers of words are no longer with us, their legacies will continue to inspire. Rather than a physical award, SFWA will make a donation to a cause that an Infinity Award honoree supported or that their loved ones request. The inaugural recipient was Octavia E. Butler. For this first award, and in future years when a specific charity is not requested, that donation will go to the Octavia E. Butler Scholarship to the Clarion West workshop, which is administered by the Carl Brandon Society.