In Memoriam – Patricia A. McKillip (1948–2022)

Patricia A. McKillip (February 29, 1948–May 6, 2022) began publishing fantasy in 1973 with the novel The House on Parchment Street and the novella The Throme of the Erril of Sherill. Over the next few years, she published the award-winning The Forgotten Beasts of Eld and the Riddle-Master trilogy, comprised of The Riddle-Master of Hed, Heir of Sea and Fire, and Harpist in the Wind.

Many of McKillip’s novels embrace the elegant language and elements of fairy tales and mythology. They include the Cygnet duology, Song of the Basilisk, The Book of Atrix Wolfe, Alphabet of Thorn, and Od Magic. McKillip also published numerous short stories, which have been collected in Harrowing the Dragon, Wonders of the Invisible World, and Dreams of Distant Shores.

Over the course of her nearly fifty-year career, McKillip won two World Fantasy Awards for her novels, The Forgotten Beasts of Eld and Ombria in Shadow. The latter of which also earned her a second Mythopoeic Award, which she had previously won for Something Rich and Strange. She would win a third Mythopoeic Award for Solstice Wood and a fourth for Kingfisher. She won the Locus Award for Harpist in the Wind. Her short story “A Troll and Two Roses” earned her a Balrog Award.

In 2008, McKillip received a Lifetime Achievement World Fantasy Award. She lived 74 years.

To honor her passing, SFWA President Jeffe Kennedy shares, “I wept at the news that Patricia had passed away. She was a huge influence on me as a reader and a writer. They say to never meet your heroes, but I was privileged to have several telephone conversations with Patricia last year and she was gracious and utterly delightful. Her loss is an enormous one to me personally, and to all the SFF community.”