The Nebula Awards® are voted on, and presented by, active members of Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America, Inc. Founded as the Science Fiction Writers of America in 1965 by Damon Knight, the organization began with a charter membership of 78 writers; it now has over 2,500 members, among them many of the leading writers of science fiction and fantasy.
Lloyd Biggle, Jr., the SFWA’s first secretary-treasurer, originally proposed in 1965 that the organization publish an annual anthology of the best stories of the year. This notion, according to Damon Knight in his introduction to Nebula Award Stories: 1965 (Doubleday, 1966) “rapidly grew into an annual ballot of SFWA’s members to choose the best stories, and an annual awards banquet.”
Since 1965, the Nebula Awards® have been given each year for the best novel, novella, novelette, and short story eligible for that year’s award. The Award for Best Script was added in 2000. Since then, the organization has added an award recognizing outstanding young adult and middle grade fiction, and an award celebrating game writing.
An anthology including the winning pieces of short fiction and several runners-up is also published every year. The Nebula Awards® Banquet, which takes place each spring, is attended by many writers and editors and is preceded by meetings and panel discussions. Due to the pandemic, the banquet was unable to be held in 2020, 2021, and 2022, and the entire conference was held entirely online aboard the SFWA Airship Nebula.
The 2023 Conference sees a return to a hybrid event with both an online conference and in-person component and awards ceremony.