C.J. Cherryh: Biography

C.J. Cherryh

01 sep 1942

C. J. Cherryh is an American author. She was born Carolyn Janice Cherry in Missouri in 1942. She is a prolific writer of speculative fiction, having had over 60 books published since her writing career took off in the mid-1970s. Her first two novels were both published in 1976: Gate of Ivrel and Brothers of Earth. Perhaps her most famous novel, Cyteen, is a science fiction novel which takes place in the Alliance-Union universe which she created. It was published in 1988 and it is about the repercussions and consequences following the murder of a major and important politician and scientist.

Cherryh chose to writer under a penname on the advice of her editor, who told her that the surname Cherry was more reminiscent of a romance writer. She used her initials instead of her first names because at the time of publication of her first novel, nearly all science fiction authors and readers were male. Her editor thought that she would sell more books if people were unaware that she was a woman.

C. J. Cherryh is a hugely successful author, having won a great number of literary awards and prizes. She has won 3 Hugo awards, a Locus award, a John W. Campbell Award and the Arrell Gibson Lifetime Achievement Award. In 2016, she was given a Damon Knight Memorial Grand Master Award. Her contribution to science fiction has been so great that she has even had an asteroid named in her honour.