The Otherwise Award (formerly Tiptree Award) was founded by Karen Joy Fowler and Pat Murphy. For the first few years of the award, Pat ran the finances out of her checking account, and the two Founding Mothers did all the administrative and organizing work. As you could guess, that shortly became untenable, and the award was formally incorporated as a registered U.S. 501(c)(3) nonprofit corporation, which is why your donations are tax-deductible in the United States. As part of the incorporation process, the award was designed to be run by a “motherboard” (we love the pun!) of five or more people who make financial, process, and other practical decisions for the award.
The current motherboard members are:
Back in 1991, Pat Murphy and Karen Fowler came up with the idea for the Tiptree Award on a long car trip. Pat is a writer, a scientist, and sometimes a toy maker. Her fiction has won the Nebula Award for Science Fiction, the World Fantasy Award, the Philip K. Dick Award, the Christopher Award, and the Theodore Sturgeon Memorial Award. She has worked as a writer at the Exploratorium, San Francisco’s hands-on museum of science, art, and human perception, as a marketing director at The Crucible, Oakland’s school of fire arts, and as a writer/editor/toymaker at Klutz, a publisher of children’s how-to books. These days, she is the Activity Guru at Mystery Science, an ed-tech startup that creates lessons to inspire elementary school teachers and their students to love science.
Liz Henry is a writer, blogger, poet, and literary translator who served as the Otherwise jury chair for the 2005 and 2020 awards and has been attending WisCon since WisCon 20. She works as a web developer, community coordinator, and release manager at places such as Twitch, Mozilla, and BlogHer. Henry cofounded the feminist hackerspace Double Union in San Francisco, and frequently peer-leads initiatives at Noisebridge. As a frequent wheelchair or cane and crutches user, she often writes and speaks about disability politics and the social construction of disability. She frequently speaks at conferences and conventions such as WisCon, linux.conf.au, the Knight Foundation/MIT Future of Civic Media Conference, SXSWi, and Potlatch. As a voracious reader she enjoys reviewing varied books on her blog.
Sumana Harihareswara (chair)
Sumana Harihareswara is a scifi fan and stand-up comedian who’s performed at Worldcon, WisCon, and AlterConf, and who usually serves as the charity auctioneer for the Otherwise Award. She co-edited and co-published the Thoughtcrime Experiments anthology in 2009 and created the widely viewed fanvid “Pipeline” (and premiered it at the WisCon vid party) in 2015, and was a Guest of Honor at Penguicon in 2017. She is also an open source contributor and leader who helped WisCon reorganize its web application in 2011, and who has contributed to PyPI, HTTPS Everywhere, GNOME, MediaWiki, Zulip, GNU Mailman, and other FLOSS projects. She has keynoted Open Source Bridge and other open source conventions, and manages and maintains open source projects as Changeset Consulting. She has written for Tor.com, Geek Feminism, Crooked Timber, Model View Culture, LWN, GNOME Journal, and The Recompiler, among other venues. She lives in New York City. (Photo by and courtesy of Mike Pirnat)
Alexis Lothian is an academic who researches and teaches about feminist and queer theory, speculative fiction, and social justice in digital culture. She is Associate Professor in the Harriet Tubman Department of Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies and Core Faculty in the Program in Design Cultures and Creativity at University of Maryland College Park. Her 2018 book Old Futures: Speculative Fiction and Queer Possibility explores alternative futures dreamed up by feminists, queers, and people of color in the US and UK from the late 19th to the early 21st century, came out . She also works on artistic forms used within fan communities to engage critical readings of media texts and to participate in social justice activism. She was a founding member of the editorial team of the open access fan studies journal Transformative Works and Cultures, coedits Ada: a Journal of Gender, New Media, and Technology, and is a member of the WisCon concom. She served on the Award jury in 2009, chaired the 2017 jury, and is the moving force behind the Otherwise Fellowships.
Gretchen Treu is a feminist, queer bookseller with a deep knowledge of and affection for science fiction and fantasy. They co-own A Room of One’s Own, an independent, local bookstore that is a central part of Madison’s feminist community. Gretchen is a past co-chair of WisCon. They have had the pleasure of serving on the 2013 Award jury, and are currently responsible for requesting suggested titles for the current Otherwise jury. When not reading and opining about SF/F, they spend time with their children and family, nerd out about various fandoms, and stress out about politics.
Karen Joy Fowler
Karen Joy Fowler is no longer on the motherboard, but she remains closely involved with all decisions and conversations regarding the present and future of the award.