The BSFA wishes to offer its congratulations to Farah Mendlesohn, who has just been appointed as Professor and Head of Department at the Department of English, Communication, Film and Media at Anglia Ruskin University, Cambridge.
Farah is well-known in the sf field. Many have benefited from her organizational energy and contributions to more conventions and conferences than can be listed here (most recently Head of Exhibits for the London in 2014 Worldcon bid), to the Science Fiction Foundation (for whom she served as Chair and editor of Foundation – The International Review of Science Fiction), to the International Association for the Fantastic in the Arts (of which she was President) and to the BSFA. One of her less celebrated achievements is her time as BSFA London Meetings Organizer from 2004 to 2007, when she turned round what was becoming a moribund event and made it an important part of the London SF calendar.
She will now bring the organisational skills she employed for the above to her new role as Head of Department. The Professorship recognises the important contributions she has made to academic research on science fiction and fantasy in the past decade. She has written three important and excellent monographs, Diana Wynne Jones and the Children’s Fantastic Tradition (2005), Rhetorics of Fantasy (2008) and The Inter-galactic Playground: A Critical Study of Children’s and Teens’ Science Fiction (2009), and edited Polder: A Festschrift For John Clute and Judith Clute (2006) and On Joanna Russ (2009). With Edward James she has co-written A Short History of Fantasy (2009), and co-edited The Cambridge Companion to Science Fiction (2003), which won a Hugo Award for Best Related Book in 2005, and (just published this week) The Cambridge Companion to Fantasy Literature.
BSFA voters gave her the 2003 and 2008 Best Non-fiction Awards, for the introduction to The Cambridge Companion to Science Fiction and Rhetorics of Fantasy, and she was shortlisted for Polder and A Short History of Fantasy.
It is also pleasing to see Anglia Ruskin, through this appointment, further strengthening their research and teaching interests in science fiction and fantasy.
We wish Farah all the best in her new position.