Nicola Griffith

Doctoral Researcher

Faculty:Faculty of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences

Location: Cambridge

Areas of Expertise: Creative writing , Publishing

Nicola is an award-winning novelist with an interest in story and intersectional bias (particularly gender, disability, sexual orientation).

Nicola's website

Gemæcce: The story of making a novel about Hild of Whitby

Twitter: @nicolaz

Nicola on Facebook



Nicola Griffith, born in Yorkshire and living in Seattle (she is a dual US/UK citizen), is a writer and teacher whose work—novels, essays, edited anthologies, memoir, and short fiction—is published widely and has won a variety of national and international awards. Two recent demonstrations of the power of research prompted her enrollment as a PhD candidate at Anglia Ruskin. First, her research on the construction of intersectional discourse in seventh-century Britain that resulted in the publication of Hild. Second, her research on bias in the literary ecosystem, published in 2015, that led to the creation and funding of a new international literary prize, the $50,000 Half the World Global Literati Award.

Nicola is an experienced teacher (both design and delivery) of creative writing, and publishing-related skills such as online presence and performance for authors. In addition to writing, research, and teaching she loves public speaking, cultural activism, non-profit advocacy, story consultation, and maintains a lively social media presence.

Research interests

  • Story
  • Construction and operation of intersectional bias
  • Neuroscience of narrative empathy

Some examples:

Norming the Other: Narrative Empathy Via Focalised Heterotopias. PhD dissertation on the construction of focalised heterotopias to obviate a reader's aversive emotional response pertaining to specific areas of discourse (such as gender, sexuality, and race) and maintain narrative empathy sufficient to centre and norm characters who are members of traditionally marginalised groups.

Bias in Publishing. Ongoing effort to systematise and tally gender and other biases in the literary ecosystem. A continuation of my already-published literary prize data.

Legend: The Literature of Climate Change. Research in progress. The links between migration, climate change, and legendary tales of King Arthur, Gilgamesh, and Moses. I argue that climate change leads to migrations which lead to competition over resources which leads to legends of heroic defenders.

The Pleasures and Perils of Cross-Reading. Article in progress. The causes and narrative consequences of ventriloquising male (and/or straight, white, able-bodied) characters in historical fiction by writers such as Sutcliff, Renault, Mantel.

Memberships, editorial boards

  • Advisory Board, Journal of Historical Fictions
  • Contributing Editor, Los Angeles Review of Books
  • Advisory Board, SF Gateway, UK
  • Member, National Association of Writers in Education
  • Member, Association of Writers and Writing Programs
  • Member, PEN American Center
  • Member, International Society of Anglo-Saxonists
  • Member, Historical Writers' Association, UK 

Selected honours and awards


2015.   American Library Association Notable Book, Hild.
2014. *Washington State Book Award for Fiction, Hild.
2014.   Tiptree Honor, Hild.
2014.   Guardian Not the Booker prize, longlist, Hild.
2014.   Nebula Award, shortlist, Hild.
2014.   Lambda Literary Award, shortlist, Hild.
2013. *Outstanding Mid-Career Novelist Prize, Lambda Literary Foundation.
2013.   Best Novel of 2013, Seattle Times, Hild.
2013.   Book of the Week, The Week, Hild.
2013.   Book of the Week, Publishers Weekly, Hild.
2012. *Galactic Suburbia Award (Australia) "Taking the Russ Pledge."
2009. *Alice B. Medal, Always.
2009.   Research grant, UK Society of Authors, Hild.
2008. *Lambda Literary Award, And Now We Are Going to Have a Party.
2007. *Premio Italia, Ammonite.
2003.   Star of Washington, body of work.
2002. *InsightOut/QPB Best Novel Award, Stay.
2002. *Spectrum Award, Bending the Landscape: SF.
2001.   Author of Distinction, King County Council, Washington.
1999. *Lambda Literary Award, The Blue Place.
1999. *Lambda Literary Award, Bending the Landscape: SF.
1999. *Spectrum Award, Bending the Landscape: SF.
1998. *World Fantasy Award, Bending the Landscape: Fantasy.
1998. *Lambda Literary Award, Bending the Landscape: Fantasy.
1998.   ALA Stonewall Award, Honor book, Bending the Landscape: Fantasy.
1997. *Nebula Award, Slow River.
1996. *Lambda Literary Award, Slow River.
1996.   Seiun Award (Japan), shortlist, Slow River.
1994. *Tiptree Award, Ammonite.
1994. *Lambda Literary Award, Ammonite.
1994.   Locus Award, Best First Novel, runner-up. Ammonite.
1994.   Atlanta Bureau of Cultural Affairs, Artist's Grant.
1994.   Georgia Council for the Arts, Artist’s Grant.
1994.   Alien of Exceptional Ability status, USA.
1994.   National Interest Waiver, US State Department.

Selected recent publications

Books (first English language)
Griffith, N. under contract 2019. Menewood. New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux.
Griffith, N. forthcoming 2018. So Lucky. New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux.
Griffith, N. 2013. Hild. New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux.
Griffith, N. 2007. Always. New York: Riverhead.
Griffith, N. 2007. And Now We Are Going to Have a Party. Seattle: Payseur & Schmidt.
Griffith, N. 2004. With Her Body. Seattle: Aqueduct Press. Stories.
Griffith, N. 2002.Stay Nan A. Talese, New York.
Griffith, N., and Pagel, S. 2001. Bending the Landscape: Horror New York: Overlook Press.
Griffith, N. 1998. The Blue Place. New York: Morrow.
Griffith, N., and Pagel, S. 1998. Bending the Landscape: SF. New York: Overlook Press.
Griffith, N., and Pagel, S. 1997. Bending the Landscape: Fantasy. Atlanta: White Wolf Press.
Griffith, N. 1995. Slow River. New York: Ballantine.
Griffith, N. 1993. Ammonite. London: HarperCollins.

Selected recent short work
Griffith, N. 2016. How to Defeat an Autocrat.Global Comment. [Accessed 17 April 2017]
Griffith, N. 2016. Guidelines for Non-Disabled Writers. Literary Hub[Accessed 17 April 2017]
Griffith, N. 2016. Disability: Art, Scholarship, and Activism. [Accessed 17 April 2017]
Griffith, N. 2015. My Story, Mystery. In: A. Pierce and A. Krasnostein, eds. Letters to Tiptree. Yokine: Twelfth Planet Press.
Griffith, N. 2015. The Women You Didn't See. Los Angeles Review of Books. [Accessed 17 April 2017]
Griffith, N. 2015. Books about Women Don't Win Big Awards: Some Data. [Accessed 17 April 2017]
Griffith, N. 2013. Palimpsest: Jeanette Winterson's ‘Why Be Happy?’ Los Angeles Review of Books. [Accessed 17 April 2017]
Griffith, N. 2012. On Leigh Brackett's ‘The Long Tomorrow.’ Library of America. [Accessed 17 April 2017]
Griffith, N. 2012. Living Fiction, Storybook Lives. In: L. Duchamp, ed. Narrative Power: Encounters, Celebrations, Struggles. Seattle: Aqueduct Press. pp 198-208.
Griffith, N. 2009. Hard Takes Soft, Still. Science Fiction Studies, Vol. 36(3), pp. 385-403.
Griffith, N. 2009. Introduction to Leigh Brackett's Sword of Rhiannon. Seattle: Planet Stories.
Griffith, N. and Eskridge, K. 2008. War Machine, Time Machine. In: J. Gordon, V. Hollinger, W. Pearson, Queer Universes. Liverpool: Liverpool University Press.  39-50.
Griffith, N. 2007. Identity and SF: Story as Science and Fiction. In: M. Grebowitz, ed.SciFi in the Mind's Eye. New York: Open Court. pp 139-146.

Recent presentations and conferences

Keynotes and Guest of Honour
2016. Keynote (with Riva Lehrer), "Disability: Art, Scholarship, and Activism," Pacific & Western Disability Studies Symposium, University of Washington, Seattle, WA.
2015. Guest of Honour, Readercon 26, annual conference on imaginative literature. Burlington, MA. 2015.
2013. Guest of Honour, Westercon 66, annual West coast Science Fantasy Conference. Sacramento, CA.
2007. Returning Guest of Honour, Wiscon, the annual gathering of international feminist SF community.
2004. Keynote (with Sherman Alexie), Multiple Sclerosis Association's first fundraising dinner, Seattle, WA.
2001. Guest of Honour, A Celebration of British SF, Liverpool University, UK.

By invitation
2015. Co-Host, Shirley Jackson Awards, Boston, MA.
2015. Search for Meaning Book Festival, Seattle University, WA.
2014. Ilkley Literature Festival, UK, staged interview.
2014. Writers With Drinks, San Jose, CA.
2014. Annual University of Washington Libraries Dinner, Seattle, WA.
2014. AWP Conference & Bookfair, Seattle, WA.
2014. World Fantasy Convention, Washington DC.
2013. Microsoft Auditorium, Seattle Central Library, Seattle, WA.
2013. Breakfast Author, Pacific Northwest Bookseller's Association, Portland, OR.
2013. Richard Hugo House, Seattle, WA.
2013. Staged interview w/ J Freeman at the Elliott Bay Book Company, Seattle, WA.
2013. Guest author, Book Expo America, New York, NY.
2011. Mentor and guest speaker, Clarion West Writers' Workshop, Seattle, WA..
2011. Host/MC, Lambda Literary finalists, Elliott Bay Book Company, Seattle, WA..
2008. Richard Hugo House, Seattle, WA.
2007. Bumbershoot, Seattle, WA..
2006. Experience Music Project, "Gender in SF," Seattle, WA. 

Media experience

2015. Seattle Review of Books (launch interview).
2015. As It Happens, CBC, Canada (national radio interview).
2015. Guardian, UK (interview).
2014. Well Read, PBS (national television interview and Hild discussion).
2014. Locus (cover interview).
2014. To the Best of Our Knowledge, National Public Radio (radio interview).
2013. Paris Review Daily (interview).
2013. Los Angeles Times (interview).
2013. Seattle Times (interview).
2013. Kirkus (interview).
2013. Lambda Literary Review (interview).