John Clute, Critic Guest of Honor at Readercon 4, was born in Canada in 1940 and has lived in England since 1969. He visits America yearly, in Maine with Elizabeth Hand. He received a Pilgrim Award from the Science Fiction Research Association in 1994, was Distinguished Guest Scholar at the 1999 International Conference on the Fantastic in the Arts, and received a Solstice Award in 2012.

He coedited, with Peter Nicholls, the Hugo Award-winning first edition of Encyclopedia of Science Fiction (Doubleday, 1979). The second edition (St. Martin's Press, 1993), also coedited with Nicholls, won the Hugo Award, Locus Award, British Science Fiction Association Award, and Eaton Grand Master Award. The third edition (online, 2011), coedited with Nicholls (Editor Emeritus until his death), David Langford, and Graham Sleight, won the BSFA Award, the Eurocon Award, and the Hugo Award. The Encyclopedia of Fantasy (St. Martin's, 1997), coedited with John Grant, won the Hugo Award, Locus Award, Mythopoeic Award, Eaton Award, and the World Fantasy Special Award—Professional.

Solo, Clute wrote Science Fiction: The Illustrated Encyclopedia (DK Publishing, 1995; Hugo and Locus winner) and The Book of End Times: Grappling with the Millennium (HarperPrism, 1999).

His book reviews and essays have been assembled in Strokes: Essays and Reviews 1966–1986 (Serconia Press, 1988; Readercon Award winner), Look at the Evidence: Essays and Reviews (Liverpool University Press, 1996; Locus winner), Scores: Reviews 1993–2003 (Beccon Publications, 2003), Canary Fever: Reviews (Beccon Publications, 2009), and Stay (Beccon Publications, 2014). The Darkening Garden: A Short Lexicon of Horror (Payseur & Schmidt, 2006) argues that horror is central to 21st century fantastika. Pardon This Intrusion: Fantastika in the World Storm (Beccon Publications, 2011) furthers this argument. His second novel, Appleseed (Tor Books, 2001; New York Times Notable Book), is SF.

His current projects include Sticking to the End (forthcoming September 2020) and continuing work on the SFE.