Samuel Delany

By Alex Lozupone (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

An American author, professor, and literary critic. His work includes fiction (especially science fiction), memoir, criticism, and essays on sexuality and society. After winning four Nebula awards and two Hugo awards over the course of his career, Delany was inducted by the Science Fiction and Fantasy Hall of Fame in 2002. In 2010 he won the third J. Lloyd Eaton Lifetime Achievement Award in Science Fiction from the academic Eaton Science Fiction Conference. The Science Fiction Writers of America named him its 30th SFWA Grand Master in 2013.

“Science fiction isn’t just thinking about the world out there. It’s also thinking about how that world might be—a particularly important exercise for those who are oppressed. ”

Delany, whose work has been described as limitless, has lived a life that flouts the conventional. He is a gay man who was married to a woman, poet Marilyn Hacker, for twelve years. He is a black man who, because of his light complexion, is regularly asked to identify his ethnicity.

Known to his friends as "Chip", Samuel Delany was born on April 1, 1942, and raised in Harlem. His mother was a library clerk in the New York Public Library system. His father ran the Levy & Delany Funeral Home. The civil rights pioneers Sadie and Bessie Delany were his aunts; his grandfather, was the first black Bishop of the Episcopal Church.

Recurring themes in Delany's work include mythology, memory, language, sexuality, and perception. Class, position in society, and the ability to move from one social stratum to another are motifs that were touched on in his earlier work and became more significant in his later fiction and non-fiction, both.