Catherynne M. Valente

(5 May 1979 / Seattle, Washington)

Biography of Catherynne M. Valente

Catherynne M. Valente poet

Catherynne M. Valente (born Bethany L. Thomas) is a Tiptree–, Andre Norton–, and Mythopoeic Award–winning novelist, poet, and literary critic. 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 the essay anthology Chicks Dig Time Lords. She keeps a blog at and currently lives on Peaks Island in the state of Maine with her husband. Valente has also published five books of poetry and won the Rhysling Award for speculative poetry.

Her debut novel, The Labyrinth, was a Locus Recommended Book, and her subsequent novels have been nominated for the Hugo, World Fantasy, and Locus awards. Her 2009 book, Palimpsest, won the Lambda Award for GLBT Science Fiction or Fantasy. Her two-volume series The Orphan's Tales won the 2008 Mythopoeic Award, and its first volume, The Orphan's Tales: In the Night Garden won the 2006 James Tiptree, Jr. Award, was nominated for the 2007 World Fantasy Award, and was The Plain Dealer's #1 summer reading novel in 2007.

In 2009, she donated her archive to the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America (SFWA) Collection] in the department of Rare Books and Special Collections at Northern Illinois University.


Valente's work tends to center on folkloric and mythological themes, reimagining fairy tales and genre tropes via feminist, surrealist, and postmodern lenses. Her writing is characterized by stylistic and structural experimentation as well as complex linguistic and poetic techniques.

Multimedia and mythpunk

Valente tours with singer/songwriter SJ Tucker, who along with her own varied discography composes albums based on Valente's work. The pair perform reading concerts throughout North America, often featuring dancers, aerial artists, art auctions featuring jewelry and paintings based on the novels, and other performances.

Valente is extremely active in the crowdfunding movement of online artists, and her novel The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making was the first online, crowdfunded book to win a major literary award before traditional publication.

Valente coined the term mythpunk as a joke for describing her own and other works of challenging folklore-based fantasy in a blog post in 2006.


2006 James Tiptree, Jr. Award -The Orphan's Tales: In the Night Garden (vol. 1)

2007 Story South Million Writers Award for Best Online Short Story - Urchins, While Swimming, Clarkesworld Magazine Issue 3

2007 World Fantasy Award Nominee (Best Novel) - The Orphan's Tales: In the Night Garden (vol. 1)

2008 Rhysling Award (long poem category) - The Seven Devils of Central California, Farrago's Wainscot Summer 2007

2008 Mythopoeic Award (adult literature) - "The Orphan's Tales" (series)

2009 World Fantasy Award Nominee (Best Short Story)

A Buyer's Guide to Maps of Antarctica, Clarkesworld Magazine May 2008)

2009 Andre Norton Award "The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making"

2010 CultureGeek Readers' Choice Award (Best Web Fiction of the 21st Century) "The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making"

2010 Hugo Award for Best Novel (nominee) - "Palimpsest"

2010 Locus Awards (nominee) - "Palimpsest"

2010 Lambda Literary Awards - "Palimpsest"

Catherynne M. Valente's Works:


The Labyrinth (2004)
The Ice Puzzle (2004)
Yume No Hon: The Book of Dreams (2005)
The Grass-Cutting Sword (June 2006)
Palimpsest(Feb 2009)
The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making (May 2011)
The Habitation of the Blessed( 2010)
Deathless (March 2011)
The Folded World (November 2011)
Myths of Origin (November 2011),
The Orphan's Tales: In the Night Garden (2006)
The Orphan's Tales: In the Cities of Coin and Spice (Oct 2007)


Music of a Proto-Suicide (2004)
Apocrypha (2005)
Oracles: A Pilgrimage (2006)
The Descent of Inanna (2006)
A Guide to Folktales in Fragile Dialects (May 2008)


Introduction to Jane Eyre (2007)
"Regeneration X" in Chicks Dig Time Lords (2010)

Short fiction

"The Oracle Alone" Music of a Proto-Suicide (2004)
"Ghosts of Gunkanjima" Papaveria Press (2005)
"The Maiden-Tree" Cabinet des Fees (2005)
"Bones Like Black Sugar" Fantasy Magazine (2005)
"Psalm of the Second Body" PEN Book of Voices (2005)
"Ascent Is Not Allowed" The Minotaur in Pamplona (2005)
"Thread: A Triptych" Lone Star Stories (2006)
"Urchins, While Swimming" Clarkesworld Magazine (2006)
"Milk and Apples" Electric Velocipede (2006)
"Temnaya and the House of Books" Mythic (2006)
"A Grey and Soundless Tide" Salon Fantastique (2006)
"A Dirge For Prester John" INTERFICTIONS (2007)
"The Ballad of the Sinister Mr. Mouth" Lone Star Stories (2007)
"La Serenissima" Endicott Studio (2007)
"The Proslogium of the Great Lakes" Farrago's Wainscot (2007)
"A Buyer's Guide to Maps of Antarctica" Clarkesworld Magazine (2008)
"Tales of Beaty and Strangeness: City of Blind Delights" Clockwork Phoenix (2008)
"The Hanged Man" Farrago's Wainscot (2008)
"An Anthology of Urban Fantasy: Palimpsest" Paper Cities, ed. Ekaterina Sedia (2008)
"The Harpooner at the Bottom of the World" Spectra Pulse Magazine (2008)
" Golubash, or, Wine-War-Blood-Elegy" Federations (2009)
" The Secret History of Mirrors" Clockwork Phoenix 2 (2009)
" A Book of Villainous Tales:A Delicate Architecture" Troll's Eye View (2009)
"The Radiant Car Thy Sparrows Drew" Clarkesworld Magazine (2009)
"The Anachronist's Cookbook" Steampunk Tales (2009)
"A Between Books Anthology:Proverbs of Hell" The Stories in Between (2010)
"The Days of Flaming Motorcycles" Dark Faith (2010)
"Secretario" Weird Tales (2010)
"Thirteen Ways of Looking at Space/Time" Clarkesworld Magazine (2010)
"How to Become a Mars Overlord" Lightspeed Magazine (2010)
"15 Panels Depicting the Sadness of the Baku and the Jotai" Haunted Legends (2010)
"In the Future When All's Well" Teeth (2011)
"A Voice Like a Hole" Welcome to Bordertown (2011)
"The Wolves of Brooklyn" Fantasy Magazine (2011)
"The Girl Who Ruled Fairyland--For a Little While" (2011)
"White Lines on a Green Field" Subterranean Magazine (2011)
"Silently and Very Fast" Clarkesworld Magazine and WSFA Press (2011)


This Is My Letter To The World: The Omikuji Project, Cycle One (2010)
Ventriloquism short story collection (2010)

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Past The Rivers

I sat as if a statue,
and Hades brushed my hair
with a comb of iron and asphodel.

I sat as if an icon,
and Demeter brushed my hair
with a comb of crocus and water.

On either side of my candled body,

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