Elizabeth A. Lynn and the Importance of Representation

Elizabeth A. Lynn is an American writer who was born on 8th June 1946. She is known for writing fantasy fiction, and to lesser extent science fiction novels, however, she is best-known for being one of the first writers to introduce gay and lesbian characters into these genres. As an openly lesbian woman herself, representation was clearly an important matter to Elizabeth A. Lynn.

Her first fantasy novel, Watchtower (1979), which is the first of the Chronicles of Tornor series, won the World Fantasy award in 1980. Watchtower was followed by two more books in the series, The Dancers of Arun and The Northern Girl, and the Chronicles of Tornor series are thought to be among the first fantasy novels to feature gay relationships and same-sex love which are depicted in a sympathetic and open way.

Her short story collection, The Woman Who Loved the Moon and Other Stories, is a book of gay speculative fiction tales which also won the World Fantasy Award for its title story, The Woman Who Love the Moon.

While Lynn’s work is predominately fantasy writing, her science fiction too is noted for its ground-breaking work in representation of LGBT+ characters. Her début novel was a science fiction book called, A Different Light, which features a same-sex relationship between two men. In honour of Lynn’s work, the widely known bookstore chain based in New York and California, A Different Light, took its name from her novel.

“I have a certain sentimental connection to A Different Light, mostly because it gave its name to a bookstore that’s now a chain,” Elizabeth A. Lynn told Locus Magazine in October 1997.

More recently, Lynn has begun writing a new fantasy series called Karadur Atani, so far this series consists of two novels, Dragon’s Winter (1998) and Dragon’s Treasure (2004), which again feature gay relationships. It is unclear whether Lynn has plans to write any more books in this series but what is clear is that representation matters and that Elizabeth A. Lynn helped lead the way in fantasy and sci-fi writing and continues to do so today.

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