Happy Birthday, Sheri S. Tepper

Today we wish a Happy Birthday to Sheri S. Tepper, author of Beauty, Grass and The Gate to Women’s Country, among many other fine and much-loved books.

Born in Colorado in 1929, her first contributions to the genre were poems, published under her then married name, Sheri S Eberhart, beginning with “Lullaby, 1990” in Galaxy in 1963. She then fell silent as a writer until in her 50s, when she returned to fantasy with King’s Blood Four in 1983 and to SF with The Revenants in 1984. Anyone wondering why Ms Tepper was away from the field for two decades should read her extraordinary autobiographical note, which we published here a couple of years ago.

In fact, everyone should read it; the searing honesty and clinical skewering of the casual sexism that earlier generations of women had to suffer is both powerful and humbling. Without doubt, there are still inequalities to address in the 21st century – based on gender, sexuality, economic status and religious persuasion, just to name a few – and Ms Tepper’s piece shows both how far we’ve come since she was a child and why it’s important that we continue to address these issues.

When I was four, I was told by my grandmother, who was my main caregiver(?) that I had a baby brother. I said, innocently, “I’ll still be your grandbaby, won’t I Nana?” To which she replied, with great satisfaction, “I have a grandson now, I don’t need you girls anymore.”

You can read the rest here. Heartbreaking. But also powerful and, in the end, triumphant. We exhort you to read it, and then to join with us in wishing Sheri S. Tepper a very Happy Birthday.