Farah Mendlesohn

Farah Mendlesohn
Mendlesohn at Archipelacon in Mariehamn, 2015
Mendlesohn at Archipelacon in Mariehamn, 2015
Born (1968-07-27) 27 July 1968 (age 53)
Manchester, England
Occupation Academic, writer
Citizenship United Kingdom
Subject Cultural history, science fiction

Farah Jane Mendlesohn (born 27 July 1968)[1] is a British academic historian and writer on science fiction and fantasy literature, and an active science fiction fan.

Scholarly career

Mendlesohn was born in Manchester and identifies as gender-fluid.[2] Mendlesohn joined Staffordshire University in November 2016 as Prof & Assistant Dean, Law, Policing, Forensics & Sociology.[3] Mendlesohn was previously employed as Professor and Head of Department in the Department of English, Communication, Film and Media at Anglia Ruskin University.[4] Prior to that Mendlesohn was Reader in Science Fiction and Fantasy Literature in the Media Department at Middlesex University. Mendlesohn writes on the history of American religions and British and American science fiction and fantasy. Mendlesohn received their D. Phil. in History from the University of York in 1997.[5] Mendlesohn was the editor of Foundation - The International Review of Science Fiction from 2002 to 2007. Mendlesohn used to be reviews editor of Quaker Studies.

Awards and nominations

In 2005 Mendlesohn won the Hugo Award for Best Related Work for The Cambridge Companion to Science Fiction, which they edited with historian Edward James. James and Mendlesohn also edited The Cambridge Companion to Fantasy Literature, released in 2012, and wrote A Short History of Fantasy in 2009.

Mendlesohn's book Rhetorics of Fantasy won the BSFA award for best non-fiction book in 2009; the book was also nominated for Hugo and World Fantasy Awards.

In 2010 Mendlesohn was nominated twice for the Best Related Work Hugo, for The Inter-Galactic Playground: A Critical Study of Children's and Teens' Science Fiction, and for On Joanna Russ.

In 2017, Mendlesohn was nominated for a World Fantasy Special Award—Professional for Children's Fantasy Literature: An Introduction.

In 2020 Mendlesohn's biography of Robert Heinlein (see below) was nominated for the Best Related Work Hugo.

Science fiction conventions

Mendlesohn is an active volunteer member of the administration for science fiction conventions. Among other events, Mendlesohn co-chaired ConCussion, the 2006 Eastercon, with Simon Bradshaw;[6] and was director of program for Anticipation and the Montreal World Science Fiction Convention in 2009;[7] Mendlesohn was on the convention committee of Loncon 3, the 72nd World Science Fiction Convention, until they resigned over the declaration that Jonathan Ross would be master of ceremonies for the presentation of the Hugo Awards; Mendlesohn remained division head for the convention's exhibits hall.[8]

Heinlein study

In 2017, Mendlesohn announced that their forthcoming critical study of Robert Heinlein would be published by the crowdfunding publisher Unbound,[9] and that if the funding exceeded the target any surplus would be divided between America's Blood Centers and Con or Bust (a non-profit corporation which helps people of color to attend Science Fiction and Fantasy Conventions).[10] As of October 2017 the pledges had exceeded the target by 18%. The book was published in 2019, under the title The Pleasant Profession of Robert A. Heinlein.

Selected works

As author
  • The Pleasant Profession of Robert A. Heinlein. (Unbound, 2019)
  • Children's Fantasy Literature: An Introduction (London: Cambridge University Press, 2016) with Michael Levy
  • A Short History of Fantasy (London: Middlesex University Press, 2009) with Edward James
  • The Inter-galactic Playground: A Critical Study of Children's and Teens' Science Fiction (Critical Explorations in Science Fiction and Fantasy 14) (Jefferson, NC: McFarland, 2009). ISBN 9780786435036.
  • Rhetorics of Fantasy (Middletown, CT: Wesleyan University Press, 2008)
  • Diana Wynne Jones: Children's Literature and the Fantastic Tradition (Oxford: Routledge, 2005)
  • Quaker Relief Work in the Spanish Civil War (Lewiston, N.Y.: Edwin Mellen Press, 2002)
As editor
  • The Cambridge Companion to Fantasy Literature (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2012) with Edward James
  • On Joanna Russ (Middletown, CT: Wesleyan University Press, 2009)
  • Glorifying Terrorism, Manufacturing Contempt: An Anthology of Original Science Fiction (London: Rackstraw Press, 2006)
  • Polder: A Festschrift For John Clute and Judith Clute (Baltimore: Old Earth Books, 2006)
  • The Cambridge Companion to Science Fiction (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2003) with Edward James
  • The True Knowledge of Ken MacLeod (Reading: Science Fiction Foundation, 2003) with Andrew Butler
  • The Parliament of Dreams: Conferring on Babylon 5 (Reading: Science Fiction Foundation, 1998) with Edward James


  1. ^ "Mendlesohn, Farah". Revised 13 November 2014. The Encyclopedia of Science Fiction (sf-encyclopedia.com). Retrieved 26 March 2015. Entry by 'PKi', Paul Kincaid.
  2. ^ "Written evidence submitted by Dr Farah Mendlesohn". November 2020.
  3. ^ "Staff Directory". Staffordshire University. Archived from the original on 23 December 2016.
  4. ^ Professor Farah Mendlesohn – Department of English, Communication, Film and Media – Anglia Ruskin University Archived 28 July 2012 at archive.today
  5. ^ Mendlesohn, Farah (1997). Practicing Peace: Quaker Relief work in the Spanish Civil War (DPhil thesis). University of York. Retrieved 29 May 2021.
  6. ^ History – Eastercon
  7. ^ AnticipationSF: English – Committee
  8. ^ "Hugo MC Withdraws" Locus Online 3 March 2014
  9. ^ Reisz, Matthew (25 October 2017). "Crowdfunding offers new opportunities to academic authors". Times Higher Education. Retrieved 30 October 2017.
  10. ^ "Robert Heinlein". Unbound. Retrieved 30 October 2017.

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