The Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America (SFWA) is pleased to announce that Peggy Rae Sapienza has been named the recipient of the Kate Wilhelm Solstice Award to honor her activities in support of science fiction and fantasy.The Kate Wilhelm Solstice Award is given by SFWA for distinguished contributions to the science fiction and fantasy community.
Sapienza joins the ranks of previous Solstice Award winners, including Octavia Butler, James Tiptree, Jr., Tom Doherty, Carl Sagan, and Stanley Schmidt. The award will be presented at the 52nd Annual Nebula Conference and Awards in Pittsburgh, PA May 18th-21st, 2017.
If anyone was born into science fiction, it was Peggy Rae McKnight (1944-2015), whose father, Jack McKnight famously missed most of the 1953 Worldcon because he was creating the first Hugo Award trophies. She attended her first science fiction convention in 1956 and met her first husband, Bob Pavlat at her first Worldcon in 1960. Over the years, Sapienza was active in fanzine fandom as well as convention running. At Constellation in 1983, she and Pavlat received the Big Heart Award, shortly after Bob died. Science fiction wouldn’t release Peggy Rae. Active in local convention running, she also worked many Worldcon press offices and created the modern Worldcon fan concourse.
In 1998, she chaired Bucconeer, the Baltimore Worldcon, and the following year married John Sapienza. She was proud of her role in Nippon 2007, the first Japanese Worldcon. In 2012, Sapienza was named a Guest of Honor for Chicon 7, that year’s Worldcon. She also co-chaired the 2014 World Fantasy Convention before her death in March of 2015. The Peggy Rae Sapienza Endowment at Northern Illinois University is named in her honor and helps support the SFWA Collection at the library.
During the 2000s, she became active in helping run events for SFWA, including the New York Reception and the Nebula Weekends. She co-chaired the 2010 Nebulas in Cocoa Beach and then chaired the Washington Nebulas in 2011 and 2012. She continued to help SFWA run its events and publish its magazine until shortly before her death.
SFWA will announce a second recipient of the Kate Wilhelm Solstice Award on January 31st.
The Nebula Awards will be presented during the annual SFWA Nebula Conference, which will run from May 18th-21st and feature a series of seminars and panel discussions on the craft and business of writing, SFWA’s annual business meeting, and receptions. On May 19th, a mass autograph session will take place at Pittsburgh Marriott City Center and is open to the public.
The Nebula Awards recognize the best works of science fiction and fantasy published in the United States as selected by members of the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America, membership in which is open to all professional science fiction and fantasy authors. The first Nebula Awards were presented in 1966.
In addition to the Nebula Awards, SFWA will present the Bradbury Award for Outstanding Dramatic Presentation, the Andre Norton Award for Outstanding Young Adult Science Fiction or Fantasy Book, the Kate Wilhelm Solstice Award, the Kevin O’Donnell, Jr. Service to SFWA Award, and the Damon Knight Memorial Grand Master Award.
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Photo by: Moshe Feder