Tanith Lee Announced as 2024 SFWA Infinity Award Recipient

The Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers Association (SFWA) is proud to announce the recipient of the 2024 SFWA Infinity Award. In the second presentation of this honor, the organization would like to recognize the works and career of Tanith Lee (1947–2015) at the 59th Annual Nebula Awards® Ceremony on June 8.


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.

SFWA President Jeffe Kennedy remarked, “Tanith Lee was writing combinations of science fiction, fantasy, romance, horror, queerness, and sex long before the current trends. She was a true trailblazer in multiple cross-genres and influenced so many of today’s authors. It’s a sorrow to me that she passed before we could celebrate her as she should have been, but a bittersweet joy to at least be able to give her this honor today.”

Photo: © Daughter of the Night

An aspiring writer from the age of nine, Lee’s first professional sale was “Eustace,” a ninety word vignette which appeared in The Ninth Pan Book Of Horror Stories (1968), edited by Herbert van Thal.

While working as an assistant librarian, Lee wrote a children’s story which was accepted for publication. A number of additional stories were also purchased, but none of them were ever published, due to a slump in the publishing firm’s sales. In 1971, Macmillan published The Dragon Hoard, a children’s novel, followed by Animal Castle, a children’s picture book, and Princess Hynchatti & Some Other Surprises, a short story collection (both 1972).

DAW published The Birthgrave in 1975, beginning a relationship that lasted until 1989 and saw the publication of 28 books altogether. Following the publication of her second and third books from DAW, Don’t Bite The Sun and The Storm Lord (both 1976), Lee quit her day job to become a full-time freelance writer.

Tanith Lee has won or been nominated for a variety of awards, including the World Fantasy Award, the August Derleth Award and the Nebula. She has appeared as Guest of Honour at a number of science fiction conventions, including Boskone XVIII in Boston in 1981, and the 1984 World Fantasy Convention in Ottawa.

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. This year, it has been requested by the family that the donation be split between two charitable causes, Pasadena Humane and the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation. 

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