The Grand Master Award was originally limited to six per decade and six were presented in the ten years to 1984; twelve in the twenty years to 1994. All were 67 years old (Isaac Asimov) to 75 years old (Lester del Rey) at the time of presentation; Alfred Bester had died at 74. Andre Norton was the first woman so honored, and only five others have been selected since. Anne McCaffrey was the first recipient named after the award had been renamed the "Damon Knight Memorial Grand Master" in 2003. From 1995 the award has been conferred annually with exceptions only in 2002 and 2011 (2001 and 2010 Nebula award years). Joe Haldeman and Connie Willis were the youngest to receive the honor, age 66.
Starting in 1995, the SFWA also awarded the title of Author Emeritus "as a way to recognize and appreciate senior writers in the genres of science fiction and fantasy who have made significant contributions to our field but who are no longer active or whose excellent work may no longer be as widely known as it once was." No more than one Author Emeritus was named each year, and the recipient was invited to speak at the annual Nebula Awards banquet. Fourteen were named in the 16 years to 2010 (the 2009 Nebula award year), none of whom had been named Grand Master—as remains true through 2013/2014. Its status as a consolation prize was one matter of controversy and by October 2013 the Author Emeritus webpage had been removed by SFWA.