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The Shalvi/Hyman Encyclopedia of Jewish Women

Features thousands of biographic and thematic essays on Jewish women around the world. Learn more

Rachel Swirsky

b. April 14, 1982

by JWA Staff
Our work to expand the Encyclopedia is ongoing. We are providing this brief biography for Rachel Swirsky until we are able to commission a full entry.

Writer Rachel Swirsky. Photo courtesy of Rachel Swirsky.

Rachel Swirsky’s experimental and feminist stories have garnered both awards and controversy from the science fiction and fantasy community. Swirsky double-majored in anthropology and writing at UC Santa Cruz, and after graduating in 2005 she attended the acclaimed Clarion West Workshop for science fiction writers and went on to earn an MFA from the prestigious Iowa Writers Workshop in 2008. Although literary fiction programs are often unsupportive of genre writers, Swirsky taught science fiction writing at the University of Iowa during her MFA. From 2008–2010 she served as founding editor of PodCastle, a podcast of fantasy short fiction, and in 2013 she was vice president of the Science Fiction Writers of America. A prolific writer of poetry, short stories, and essays, she earned the Nebula Award for “The Lady Who Plucked Flowers Beneath the Queen’s Window” in 2010 and for “If You Were a Dinosaur, My Love” in 2013. When “Dinosaur” sparked controversy during a backlash against women and minority authors in the science fiction community for its experimental prose and its discussion of hate crimes, Swirsky used her resulting notoriety to raise money for Lyon-Martin Health Services in San Francisco, which serves the LGBT community. 

How to cite this page

Jewish Women's Archive. "Rachel Swirsky." (Viewed on March 28, 2023) <https://jwa.org/encyclopedia/article/swirsky-rachel>.


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