Apply for 2020 Otherwise Fellowships by October 31

For the sixth year, the Otherwise Award  (formerly known as the Tiptree Award) is welcoming applications for Otherwise Fellowships: $500 grants for “emerging creators who are changing the way we think about gender through speculative narrative.”

If you think that description could apply to you — even if you are not working in a format most people would recognize as part of the science fiction or fantasy genre — you are eligible to apply for a Fellowship. Otherwise Fellows can be writers, artists, scholars, media makers, remix artists, performers, musicians, or something else entirely. So far our Fellows have been creators of visual art, performance, poetry, fiction, and games.

The Otherwise Fellowship is designed to provide support and recognition for the new voices who are making visible the forces that are changing our view of gender today. The Fellowship Committee particularly encourages applications from members of communities that have been historically underrepresented in the science fiction and fantasy genre and from creators who are creating speculative narratives in media other than traditional fiction. In keeping with the focus of the Otherwise Award, the selection committee is seeking projects that explore and expand understandings of gender, particularly in relationship to race, nationality, class, disability, sexuality, age, and other factors that set individuals or groups apart as “other.” Fellowship applicants do not need a professional or institutional affiliation, as the intention of the Fellowship program is to support emerging creators who lack institutional support for their work.

The deadline to apply is October 31. The complete guidelines are available on the Tiptree Award site: “How to Apply”.

Applicants are asked to write an answer to the question: “How are you working with speculative narrative to expand or explore our understanding of gender?”

We are open to broad understandings of “gender” and are especially interested in its intersections with race, nationality, class, disability, sexuality, and other categories of identification and structures of power.

Here we want you to tell us why your work is groundbreaking in the ways that the Otherwise Award honors: what’s speculative about it, and how you engage the complexities, intersections, and possibilities of gender in real and imagined worlds. Use this statement to tell us why we should be excited about supporting your work.

And they are asked what they will use the fellowship for.

Here we want to know why the monetary grant will be important for the particular project you plan to use it to help realize. Maybe it will go toward materials, travel for research, or the cost of presenting your work at a conference or exhibition. Maybe it will buy you time away from a job or other responsibilities so that you have time to focus on your creative work. We realize that $500 is a drop in the ocean for some kinds of projects, like films; maybe you will be using your fellowship as seed money, to help build up a larger sum you need to raise.

This is also where you can tell us more about who you are – how this project fits into your overall trajectory, what challenges it might help you overcome, and what it would mean to you to be named a Otherwise Fellow.

Applicants will need to write short responses to two questions and to share a sample of their work – learn more about the application process at this link.

To read about the work of the previous Fellows, click on their names below:

[Thanks to Pat Murphy for the story.]

[Update 09/05/2020: The deadline for Otherwise Fellowship applications has been extended to October 31. The past has been edited to reflect the change.]

Otherwise Fellowships Awarded to Devonix and Martha Riva Palacio Obón

The Otherwise Award (originally called the Tiptree Award) has selected two new Fellows: drag performer Devonix and writer/sound-and-media artist Martha Riva Palacio Obón. The Fellowships awarded to these artists will support projects that expand the boundaries and possibilities of the speculative, playing joyously with the traditional sense of el género (which, in Spanish, means genre and gender at the same time) across a range of mediums. 


Devonix’s contributions to the New Orleans drag scene challenge how we currently understand and access speculative fiction. In a fusion of genre and drag, Devonix encourages audiences to critique our dystopian reality and imagine other possibilities. Devonix’s drag king performances are fiercely intelligent, provocative, and playful. By transforming into a robot overlord, a flesh-eating monster, a vampire and other entities familiar to speculative fiction readers, Devonix deconstructs and rearranges the audience’s understanding of gender in speculative fiction.


Martha Riva Palacio Obón creates hybrid projects through words and sound. Her current project seeks to bring her fascination with outer space into inner space. Human and non-human memories, her grandmother’s voice and the chirping of crickets, her own body and voice — all these meld into a fascinating exploration of the space a body occupies. Obón erases the line we constantly draw between us and them: our bodies and planet Earth, our consciousness and an expanding galaxy, our sense of self and every single being surrounding us. 


In addition to choosing two Fellows, the Fellowship Committee announced an honors list of “writers and artists are all doing exciting work in gender and speculative fiction,” which includes Marina Berlin, M.L. Krishnan, Kailee Pedersen, and Aigner Loren Wilson.

The Otherwise Award celebrates works of speculative fiction that imagine new futures by exploring and expanding our understanding of gender roles. Through the Fellowship Program, the Award also encourages those who are striving to complete works, to imagine futures that might have been unimaginable when the Award began. Now in its fifth year, the Fellowship Program seeks out new voices in the field, particularly from communities that have been historically underrepresented in science fiction and fantasy and by those who work in media other than traditional fiction. 

Each Fellow will receive $500. The work produced as a result of this support will be recognized and promoted by the Otherwise Award. Over time, the Fellowship program will create a network of Fellows who can build connections, provide mutual support, and find opportunities for collaboration. 

The members of the 2019 selection committee for the Otherwise Fellowships were 2018 Fellows  Vida Cruz and Ana Hurtado, 2018 Award winner Gabriela Damián Miravete, and Fellowship Committee chair Rox Samer. For more on the work of the latest Otherwise Fellows (and on the work of past Fellows), visit the Otherwise Award website at otherwiseaward.org

[Based on a press release.]