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. 

Topics: Feminism, Fiction

Plain text

  • No HTML tags allowed.
  • Web page addresses and email addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.

Writer Rachel Swirsky. Photo courtesy of Rachel Swirsky.

Date of Birth

San Jose, CA
United States

How to cite this page

Jewish Women's Archive. "Rachel Swirsky." (Viewed on August 20, 2019) <https://jwa.org/people/swirsky-rachel>.


Help us elevate the voices of Jewish women.

donate now

The JWA Podcast

Can We Talk?

listen now

Get JWA in your inbox