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Suzette Haden Elgin

Suzette Haden Elgin -- science fiction writer, artist, and musician; linguist; grandmother of ten -- was born in Missouri in 1936. All sorts of things happened, and in the late 60s she found herself widowed, re-married, and a graduate student in linguistics at the University of California San Diego with five little kids at home. Money for school was scarce; Suzette started writing science fiction novels to pay her tuition. She survived grad school with the distinction of being the only UCSD student ever to have to write two dissertations (one on English, one on Navajo) to get just one PhD. She went on to teach linguistics at San Diego State University, retiring in 1980 to the Arkansas Ozarks, where she can still be found.

Her first novel, The Communipaths, was published as half of an Ace Double in 1970, starting her Coyote Jones series. That series [Furthest; At the Seventh Level; Star-Anchored, Star-Angered] was followed by The Ozark Trilogy (an SF Book Club Alternate selection, re-issued in a single volume by the University of Arkansas Press in March 2000), and then the Native Tongue series [Native Tongue; The Judas Rose; Earthsong]. She constructed a language, Láadan, for the Native Tongue books; a grammar and dictionary were published by SF3 in 1988.

The second and third books in the Native Tongue trilogy, Judas Rose and Earthsong, are reissued on October 15th by Feminist Press, both with "scholarly afterwords." A homepage for the three books (and for the Láadan Grammar) has been posted at Suzette's SFWA website, with excerpts, FAQ, and discussion questions.

She has published a modest amount of shorter fiction, mostly short stories on Ozark themes; her most recent story was "Soulfedge Rock," in Scarborough and McCaffrey's anthology, Space Opera, in 1996. She founded the Science Fiction Poetry Association, and she publishes a bimonthly e-mail newsletter, Linguistics & Science Fiction.

In her spare time she publishes nonfiction, including the Gentle Art of Verbal Self-Defense series; her most recent nonfiction book is The Language Imperative, just out in February 2000 from Perseus Books. She can be reached by e-mail to, or from her Web locations:

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