Jo Walton

Jo Walton (born December 1, 1964) is a Welsh-Canadian fantasy and science fiction writer and poet. She won the John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer in 2002 and the World Fantasy award for her novel Tooth and Claw in 2004. Her novel Ha'penny was a co-winner of the 2008 Prometheus Award. Her novel Lifelode won the 2010 Mythopoeic Award. Her novel Among Others won the 2011 Nebula Award for Best Novel[2] and the 2012 Hugo Award for Best Novel;[3] Among Others is one of only seven novels to have been nominated for the Hugo Award, Nebula Award, and World Fantasy Award.

Jo Walton
At Utopiales in 2019
Born (1964-12-01) December 1, 1964
Aberdare, Wales, UK[1]
NationalityWelsh and Canadian
GenreFantasy/Science fiction
SpouseEmmet A. O'Brien


Walton was born in Aberdare, in the Cynon Valley of Wales. She went to Park School in Aberdare, then Aberdare Girls' Grammar School. She lived for a year in Cardiff and went to Howell's School Llandaff, then finished her education at Oswestry School in Shropshire and at the University of Lancaster. She lived in London for two years, then lived in Lancaster until 1997. After that, she moved to Swansea, where she lived until moving to Canada in 2002.[4]

Walton speaks Welsh, saying, "It's the second language of my family of origin, my grandmother was a well known Welsh scholar and translator, I studied it in school from five to sixteen, I have a ten year old's fluency on grammar and vocab but no problem whatsoever with pronunciation."[5]

Writing career

Walton has been writing since she was 13, but her first novel was not published until 2000. Before that, she had been published in a number of role-playing game publications, such as Pyramid, mostly in collaboration with her husband at the time, Ken Walton.[6] Walton was also active in online science fiction fandom, especially in the Usenet groups rec.arts.sf.written and rec.arts.sf.fandom. Her poem "The Lurkers Support Me in E-Mail" is widely quoted on it and in other online arguments, often without her name attached.[7]

Her first three novels, The King's Peace (2000), The King's Name (2001), and The Prize in the Game (2002) were all fantasy and set in the same world, which is based on Arthurian Britain and the Táin Bó Cúailnge's Ireland. Her next novel, Tooth and Claw (2003) was intended as a novel Anthony Trollope could have written, but about dragons rather than humans.

Farthing was her first science fiction novel, placing the genre of the "cozy" mystery firmly inside an alternate history in which the United Kingdom made peace with Adolf Hitler before the involvement of the United States in World War II. It was nominated for a Nebula Award, a Quill Award,[8] the John W. Campbell Memorial Award for best science fiction novel,[9] and the Sidewise Award for Alternate History. A sequel, Ha'penny, was published in October 2007 by Tor Books,[10] with the final book in the trilogy, Half a Crown, published in September 2008. Ha'penny won the 2008 Prometheus Award (jointly with Harry Turtledove's novel The Gladiator)[11] and has been nominated for the Lambda Literary Award.[12]

In April 2007, Howard V. Hendrix stated that professional writers should never release their writings online for free, as this made them equivalent to scabs.[13] Walton responded to this by declaring 23 April as International Pixel-Stained Technopeasant Day, a day in which writers who disagreed with Hendrix could release their stories online en masse. In 2008 Walton celebrated this day by posting several chapters of an unfinished sequel to Tooth and Claw, Those Who Favor Fire.

In 2008, Walton began writing a column for, mostly retrospective reviews of older books.[14]

Personal life

Walton moved to Montreal, Quebec, Canada, after her first novel was published. She is married to Ireland-born Dr. Emmet A. O'Brien.[15] She has one child, a son, Alexander, born 1990.



  • Tooth and Claw (November 2003, Tor Books, ISBN 0-7653-0264-0) Won the World Fantasy Award.
  • Lifelode (February 2009, NESFA Press,[16] ISBN 1-886778-82-5)
  • Among Others (January 2011, Tor Books), ISBN 978-0-7653-2153-4; Nebula Award for Best Novel 2011, Hugo Award for Best Novel 2012, World Fantasy Award nominee
  • My Real Children (May 2014, Tor Books), ISBN 9780765332653; Tiptree Award 2014,[17] World Fantasy Award nominee,[18] Aurora Award nominee[19]
  • Lent (May 2019, Tor Books), ISBN 9780765379061
Sulien series
Small Change trilogy
Thessaly trilogy

Other works

  • GURPS Celtic Myth (with Ken Walton) (1995, roleplaying supplement)
  • Muses and Lurkers (2001, poetry chapbook, edited by Eleanor Evans)
  • Realms of Sorcery (with Ken Walton) (2002, roleplaying supplement)
  • Sybils and Spaceships, poetry chapbook (2009, NESFA Press)
  • What Makes This Book So Great, collected essays and book reviews (2014, Tor Books) ISBN 0765331934. Review by Paul Di Filippo
  • Starlings, short story and poetry collection (2018, Tachyon Publications)
  • An Informal History of the Hugos collected essays and book reviews (2018, Tor Books)

Short Stories


  • "Story behind "Ha'Penny" by Jo Walton" (2013), from "Story Behind the Book : Volume 1"[20]

Critical studies and reviews of Walton's work

The King's Peace
  • Killheffer, Robert K. J. (Jan 2001). "Books". F&SF. 100 (1): 29–36.


  1. Jo Walton's Among Others: 'It's a mythologisation of part of my life' at the Guardian; by David Barnett; published October 2, 2012; retrieved November 4, 2013
  2. 2011 Nebula Award Winners at Locus Online News, published May 19, 2012, retrieved May 20, 2012
  3. Announcing the 2012 Hugo Award Winners at, published September 2, 2012, retrieved September 2, 2012]
  4. Turner, Robin (2007-12-26). "Jo's scientific approach to writing". Western Mail. Wales. Retrieved 2007-12-29.
  5. Walton, Jo (2007-12-26). "LiveJournal comment on knowledge of Welsh". LiveJournal. Archived from the original on 2012-03-26. Retrieved 2017-11-14.CS1 maint: BOT: original-url status unknown (link)
  6. Jo Walton :: Pen & Paper RPG Database Archived 2005-01-16 at the Wayback Machine
  7. IRoSF: Login Required
  8. Announcement of Quills nominees at The Beat Archived 2012-07-15 at, 2 June 2007
  9. John W. Campbell Memorial Award Finalists, accessed 4 June 2007
  10. Tor Books blurb page for Ha'penny.
  11. "Prometheus Award Finalists Announced". Libertarian Futurist Society. March 2008. Retrieved 25 April 2013.
  12. 20th Annual Lambda Literary Awards accessed 25 April 2013.
  13. Hendrix's "webscabs" post on LiveJournal Archived 2009-01-04 at the Wayback Machine, April 2007
  14. Jo Walton Reads at
  15. Langford, David (August 2001). "Infinitely Improbable". Ansible (169).
  16. Printed, according to the Salt Lake County library catalog,, "in a limited hardcover edition of 800 copies"
  17. "2014 James Tiptree, Jr. Award". James Tiptree, Jr. Literary Award.
  18. The 2015 World Fantasy Award Nominees Have Been Announced!, at; published July 8, 2015; retrieved July 25, 2015
  19. 2015 Aurora Awards Nominees, at Locus Online; published May 26, 2015; retrieved November 29, 2015
  20. Story Behind the Book : Volume 1 – Essays on Writing Speculative Fiction out now! Archived 2015-09-12 at the Wayback Machine
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