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"
Please, silk-sister, do this thing for me.
I do not want to sit on that broad-backed horse,
or smell his skin, grassy and hot as boiled husks,
I sat as if a statue,
and Hades brushed my hair
with a comb of iron and asphodel.
Did I ever tell you I used to be a cowboy?
Had a horse name of Drunk Bob