Happy birthday Connie Willis!

Connie Willis in 1998
Connie Willis in 1998

Constance Elaine Trimmer (photo ©Ellen Levy Finch), this is her birth name, was born on December 31, 1945 in Denver, Colorado, USA.

Connie Willis graduated in letters and elementary education from the University of Northern Colorado. In 1967 she married physicist Courtney Willis, with whom she had a daughter, Cordelia.

Connie Willis career as a writer began with the publication of the short story “The Secret of Santa Titicaca” in the magazine “Worlds of Fantasy” in 1970. Over the following years, she established herself as a writer of short fiction and only in 1982 published her first novel, “Water Witch”, written with Cynthia Felice. That same year, she decided to devote herself full-time to her writing activity after being a teacher for a few years.

Connie Willis received her first big awards in 1983 with the Hugo and Nebula awards for the novella “Fire Watch” and the Hugo Award for the short story “A Letter from the Cleary” of the previous year. In 1987 she published her first solo novel written “Lincoln’s Dream”, winner of the John W. Campbell Memorial Award.

In the following years, Connie Willis kept on publishing especially short fiction except for the novel “Light Raid” (1987), another collaboration with Cynthia Felice. She has won a long series of awards for short fiction who consecrated her as one of the most important science fiction writers of all time from this point of view.

Connie Willis has also published novels, especially in the ’90s: “Doomsday Book” (1992), winner of the Hugo and Locus awards, “Uncharted Territory” (1994), “Remake” (1995), “Bellwether” (1995), “Promised Land” (1996), her third collaboration with Cynthia Felice, “To Say Nothing of the Dog” (1998), winner of the Hugo Award, and “Passage” (2001).

In the last decade Connie Willis limited her activities even in the field of short fiction but still managed to win a couple of Hugo awards with her novellas. It’s almost a paradox that she published the novel in two books “Blackout/All Clear” in 2010, winner of the Hugo and Nebula awards.

So far Connie Willis has won a total of 11 Hugo awards and 7 Nebula awards for her works. She did it by developing different themes that include hard science fiction but also social sciences. Her stories can be very crude and rough but typically include elements of comedy, which for the author don’t aim to make people laugh but to represent the positive side of things.

Connie Willis is also appreciated for her participation in the science fiction convention. The people who saw her can witness her ability to express herself seriously but also in a funny way in front of an audience the way she does in her works. It’s another demonstration of the versatility for which she’s being appreciated for decades.

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