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NPR's Petra Mayer receives posthumous science fiction award

Petra Mayer in 2019.
Allison Shelley
Petra Mayer in 2019.

The Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America are honoring NPR Books Editor Petra Mayer with a posthumous Kate Wilhelm Solstice Award.

"Petra loved the speculative fiction genres, and passionately celebrated them throughout her career in the news media," the SFWA writes in a statement. "In choosing what writers she worked with and what books to feature, she repeatedly uplifted marginalized creators and introduced a host of readers to their stories."

Also receiving the award are Arley Sorg, co-editor-in-chief at Fantasy Magazine and Troy L. Wiggins, a writer and editor from Memphis.

Petra died suddenly in November 2021 of what's believed to be a pulmonary embolism. She was 46 years old. The self-described "resident nerd" at NPR Books had what she called "a truly impressive collection of Doctor Who doodads." Turning audiences on to genre fiction was one of the many hats Petra wore at the network. (She also loved hats and donning costumes for Comi-Con, Halloween, parties, etc.) Petra's parents established The Petra Mayer Memorial Fund For Internships in her memory.

"Arley, Troy and Petra are shining examples of how people contribute to the greater genre community by pursuing their own personal passions," writes SFWA President Jeffe Kennedy, "I mourn the loss of Petra and all she contributed to the SFF genre and community. I hope this award will help put a light on someone we lost far too young."

The SFWA Nebula Awards ceremony takes place May 21.

Copyright 2022 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Elizabeth Blair is a Peabody Award-winning senior producer/reporter on the Arts Desk of NPR News.