Catherynne M. Valente (born Bethany Thomas, May 5, 1979) is an American fiction writer, poet, and literary critic. For her speculative fiction novels she has won the annual James Tiptree, Andre Norton, and Mythopoeic Fantasy Awards. Her short fiction has appeared in Clarkesworld Magazine, the World Fantasy Award–winning anthologies Salon Fantastique and Paper Cities, along with numerous Year's Best volumes. Her critical work has appeared in the International Journal of the Humanities under the name Bethany L. Thomas as well as in numerous essay collections.
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Catherynne M. Valente is a New York Times Bestselling author of fantasy and science fiction novels, short stories, and poetry. She lives on a small island off the coast of Maine with her husband, two dogs, one enormous friendly cat and one less enormous, less friendly one, six chickens, a red accordion, an uncompleted master’s degree, a roomful of yarn, a spinning wheel with ulterior motives, a cupboard of jam and pickles, a bookshelf full of folktales, an industrial torch, an Oxford English Dictionary, and a DSL connection.
She has written over a dozen volumes of fiction and poetry since her first novel, The Labyrinth, was published in 2004. Her full-length novels include (chronologically) Yume no Hon: The Book of Dreams, The Grass-Cutting Sword, The Orphan’s Tales (a duology consisting of In the Night Garden and Cities of Coin and Spice), Palimpsest, The Habitation of the Blessed, Deathless, and The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making.
She is also the author of two novellas, Under In the Mere and The Ice Puzzle as well as several collections of poetry, including Apocrypha and Oracles (2005), The Descent of Inanna (2006) and A Guide to Folktales in Fragile Dialects (2008). Her first collection of short stories, Ventriloquism, came out in the winter of 2010.
Her poetry and short fiction can be found online and in print in such journals as Clarkesworld Magazine, Tor.com, Fantasy Magazine, Electric Velocipede, Lightspeed Magazine, Subterranean Online, and Weird Tales, as well as in anthologies such as Interfictions, Salon Fantastique, Welcome to Bordertown, Teeth, Paper Cities, Steampunk Reloaded, Haunted Legends and featured in numerous Year’s Best collections.
She has been nominated for the Hugo (2010), Locus (2010 & 2011) and World Fantasy Awards (2007 & 2009). In the Night Garden won the James Tiptree Jr. Award for expanding gender and sexuality in SFF (2007), and the series as a whole won the Mythopoeic Award for Adults (2008). Palimpsest won the Lambda Award for LGBT fiction (2010). Her story Urchins, While Swimming, received the Million Writers Award for best online short fiction in 2006 and her poem The Seven Devils of Central California won the Rhysling Award in 2008.
In 2010, The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making became the first self-published work to win a major literary award, winning the Andre Norton Award for YA literature before it saw print in 2011, going on to become a national bestseller.
In 2012 she recieved the Locus Award for Best Novella (Silently and Very Fast), Best Novelette (White Lines On A Green Field) and Best YA Novel (The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making).
As part of the SF Squeecast she won the Hugo for Best Fancast in 2012. She was nominated for the Hugo and Nebula awards for her dystopian novelette Fade to White in 2013.
She keeps a popular blog at Rules for Anchorites.
Cat was born on Cinco de Mayo in Seattle and lived there until she was 13. The rest of her growing up she managed in California, living several of the notable “S” cities of the West Coast: Seattle, Sacramento, San Francisco, San Luis Obispo, and San Diego.
She is the oldest of five children.
She graduated from high school at age 15, going on to UC San Diego and Edinburgh University, receiving her B.A. in Classics with an emphasis in Ancient Greek Linguistics.
She lived in Japan for two years, in Cleveland for three, Virginia for two, once lived in Chicago for a month for no particular reason, and Melbourne, Australia for slightly longer than a month for a very specific reason. She has worked as a professional fortune teller, telemarketer, private tutor, librarian, waitress, bartender, actress, and statistician, all of which are more or less the same thing. If you add all of those jobs up and add self-employment tax, you get a fantasy novelist.