Nebula Awards (SFWA Nebula Conference)

Nebula Awards (SFWA Nebula Conference)
Photo: sfwa.org
The Nebula Awards are among the most prestigious literary awards for science fiction and fantasy. They are awarded by the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America (SFWA) to recognize the best works published in the United States during the previous year. There is no cash prize, only a trophy designed by American author and artist J. A. Lawrence.

SFWA is a non-profit association of professional science fiction and fantasy writers founded in 1965 by Damon Knight. The association’s first secretary-treasurer Lloyd Biggle, Jr. originally proposed that SFWA publish an annual anthology of the best stories written during the previous year. This idea involved an annual ballot of the association’s members to choose the best stories. Of course, the authors of these stories needed to be awarded. That’s how the Nebula Awards were born.

The first award ceremony was held in 1966. The Nebulas were given for works published in 1965 in four categories: Best Novel (Dune by Frank Herbert), Best Novella (The Saliva Tree by Brian W. Aldiss and He Who Shapes by Roger Zelazny), Best Novelette (The Doors of His Face, the Lamps of His Mouth by Roger Zelazny), and Best Short Story (“Repent, Harlequin!” Said the Ticktockman by Harlan Ellison).

The four main categories have remained the same since since the very first ceremony. Works are divided into categories based on their length: 40,000 words or more for novels, between 17,500 and 40,000 words for novellas, between 7,500 and 17,500 words for novelettes, and less than 7,500 words for short stories. The Nebula Award for Best Script was given from 1974 to 1978 and from 2000 to 2009. The winners are chosen by members of the SFWA by voting.

The annual awards ceremony and banquet take place each spring at the SFWA Nebula Conference (formerly known as the Nebula Awards Weekend). The conference is designed for SFWA members and anyone interested in science fiction and fantasy. It is a four-day event whose program includes workshops, talks, panels, and special events. The conference moves from city to city. Past host cities include Crystal City (Virginia), San Jose (California), Chicago (Illinois), and Pittsburgh (Pennsylvania).

Nebula Awards Weekend

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