Radio Wolinsky

Suzy McKee Charnas (1939-2023), “The Vampire Tapestry,” 1981

Suzy McKee Charnas, in the 1980s.

Suzy McKee Charnas (1939-2023), in conversation with Richard Wolinsky, recorded over Halloween Weekend, 1981 at the World Fantasy Convention in the Claremont Hotel in Berkeley.

Suzy McKee Charnas, who died on January 2nd, 2023 at the age of 83, was a novelist and short story writer focusing on fantasy and science fiction. Over a career that began in 1974 with her first novel, Walk to the End of the World, she wrote eleven novels and several short stories, winning both the Hugo and Nebula Awards for Best short stories. She is best known for her tetralogy of novels, The Holdfast Chronicles, beginning with the aforementioned Walk to the End of the World and concluding with The Conquerer’s Child in 1999.

In 1981, she had just written three novels, focusing on feminist issues in a field that was still dominated by men. Her second novel, Motherlines, which featured no male characters at all, was decades ahead of its time.

A lot has changed since 1981, and the interview also serves as a time capsule in terms of both questions and answers, and in regard to feminist writing, publishing and genre writing.

She continued to work steadily after 1981, but she wrote no more novels after 1999, though short stories continued to be published. None of her works were adapted for television or film, though she did adapt The Vampire Tapestry for the stage in 2001.

The interview aired once shortly after the recording, and was digitized, remastered and edited on January 4, 2023.