Ellen Kushner is a novelist, performer and public radio personality. Her first novel, Swordspoint, was hailed as the progenitor of the “MannerPunk” school of fantasy; her second novel, Thomas the Rhymer, based on a Scottish Border ballad, won both the Mythopoeic and the World Fantasy Awards. Two other novels, The Fall of the Kings (written with Delia Sherman) and The Privilege of the Sword, are also set in the world of Swordspoint.
Since 1987, Kushner has been a producer and announcer for WGBH Radio, Boston, creating and hosting a wide variety of local and national public radio programming. In 1996 she created PRI’s award-winning public radio program Sound & Spirit with Ellen Kushner, a weekly exploration of myth and music called by Bill Moyers “the best program on public radio bar none!” Sound & Spirit is broadcast on over 100 national public radio stations and online at www.wgbh.org/spirit.
Kushner’s children’s story The Golden Dreydl: a Klezmer Nutcracker for Chanukah (2001 Gracie Allen award for radio broadcast), which she performs live with Shirim Klezmer Orchestra, is available on CD from Rykodisc. For Rykodisc she also put together the collection Welcoming Children Into the World. In 2007 she published a children’s book, The Golden Dreydl, which was adapted for the stage by NYC’s Vital Theatre in 2008, with Ellen playing the mysterious Tante Miriam. Her adult performance piece, Esther: the Feast of Masks, is broadcast on public radio and tours the United States.
Her short fiction and poetry has appeared in anthologies including several editions of The Year’s Best Fantasy and Horror, edited by Ellen Datlow and Terri Windling. She has been an instructor at Clarion, Odyssey Workshop, and at ISIS (Interstitial Studies Institute at SUNY/New Paltz, with Heinz Insu Fenkl). She has also been a judge for the James Tiptree, Jr. Award; served on the board of the Endicott Studio for Mythic Arts, and a proud co-founder of the Interstitial Arts Foundation.
Kusnher is also a popular public speaker in a variety of venues from synagogues to science fiction conventions. She lives in New York City, where she is working on a new novel and a new theatre piece or two.