Emily Gilman

Making Stuff Up and Writing It Down Since (Before) I Learned How to Write

About Me

I’ve been making up stories for as long as I can remember. When I was really little I made my mom write them down for me and then we’d illustrate them together. (I’m pretty sure my brief fanfiction career was limited to one such “book” about the Muppets.)

Later — sometime around preschool — I decided I was going to be a paleontologist. That plan lasted until third grade, when I realized that being a paleontologist would probably involve less discovering and digging up of dinosaur bones and more lab and fundraising and other kinds of work than I’d been dreaming about. (It is possible I was kind of a weird kid.) Since grown-ups are always asking what you want to be when you grow up, though, if I wasn’t going to be a paleontologist I needed to figure out what I wanted to be instead. After a recess spent mostly in quiet self-reflection I decided that I had always loved reading and writing, and that therefore I probably always would love reading and writing. “Writer,” my eight-year-old self decided, was a safe career choice to start working toward.

From that point on I worked at writing. I took writing classes at summer camp and at my town library whenever I had the option. In 2003 and 2004 I attended the Alpha Science Fiction, Fantasy, and Horror Workshop for Young Writers, where I met some of my best friends and learned a lot not only about how to write better, but about how to start submitting my work and meeting other writers. That’s also where I learned about the Dell Award for Undergraduate Excellence in Science Fiction and Fantasy Writing, where my story “Stay With Me” received an Honorable Mention in 2008.

Since then my work has appeared in Fantasy Magazine (now part of Lightspeed), Strange Horizons, and Beneath Ceaseless Skies; my story “The Castle That Jack Built” was also reprinted in The Year’s Best Science Fiction and Fantasy 2013 and nominated for the World Fantasy Award. I have a few different writing projects I’m working on now, but I’m still working on that mythical writing career/other career/music/crafting/social life/clean dishes/sleep balance. (Hey, I’m a fantasy writer: I can dream.)