We are sad to report that Patricia A. McKillip, beloved author of fantasy and science fiction, passed away on May 6 at the age of seventy-four.
McKillip’s first published works were the children’s books The Throme of the Erril of Sherill and The House on Parchment Street, both published in 1973. Since then, she published thirty-eight works including the Riddlemaster trilogy, and received the 1975 World Fantasy Award for her 1974 YA novel, The Forgotten Beasts of Eld. In 2008, she also received the World Fantasy Award for lifetime achievement. She still holds the record for most Mythopoeic Fantasy awards and nominations (at four and fifteen, respectively).
“I think readers like faerieland because it is a source of power, a source of imagination which becomes a very powerful tool. Maybe that’s why I keep digging into it, because it is something that’s totally imaginative, and yet it’s also a very ancient way of looking at the world,” she said in a 1996 interview with Locus Magazine about her craft. “Maybe people look at these characters as symbols of something they want to be or to have. It’s also a way of looking at real people. If you look at a person that way, they become more powerful because you don’t know them; all you can see of that person is something that you want to be or to possess. Maybe that’s partly where faerie comes from.”
McKillip was born on February 29, 1948, a leap-year baby, in Salem, Oregon. She earned her B.A. and M.A. in 1971 and 1973 respectively at San Jose State, and is survived by her husband, David Lunde.