Photo Credit: Allison Shelley/NPR
Petra Mayer loved the speculative fiction genres, and passionately celebrated them throughout her career in the news media. In choosing what writers she worked with and what books to feature, she repeatedly uplifted marginalized creators and introduced a host of readers to their stories. Mayer made space for unheard voices and developed guides like the Book Concierge, that fans of all backgrounds could use to discover new favorites. Her work and joy were gifts to the industry.
Petra Mayer was an editor at NPR Books. She shared her enthusiasm for genre fiction on air at NPR in the form of book reviews, as a regular guest on the podcast Pop Culture Happy Hour, through her reporting on the San Diego Comic-Con, and through the Book Concierge book recommendation tool. In her earlier career, Mayer was an associate director and producer for All Things Considered. She began working in the news media in 1997.
Mayer passed away at the young age of 46 in November 2021. Her parents established the Petra Mayer Memorial Fund for Internships. This dedicated fund “will support internships with NPR’s Culture Desk, helping to develop passionate journalists who—like Petra—can inspire audiences with a love of learning, passion for books, and dedication to sharing stories that matter.”
SFWA President Jeffe Kennedy remarks, “Arley, Troy, and Petra are shining examples of how people contribute to the greater genre community by pursuing their own personal passions. I’m delighted to celebrate Arley’s and Troy’s wonderful contributions and look forward to what they’ll go on to do. I mourn the loss of Petra and all she contributed to the SFF genre and community. I hope this award will help put a light on someone we lost far too young.”