World Fantasy Award

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World Fantasy Award
World Fantasy Award tree.jpeg
Statuette used as award trophy since 2016
Awarded forBest fantasy works of the previous year
CountryInternational
Presented by World Fantasy Convention
First awarded1975
Website worldfantasy.org

The World Fantasy Awards are a set of awards given each year for the best fantasy fiction published during the previous calendar year. Organized and overseen by the World Fantasy Convention, the awards are given each year at the eponymous annual convention as the central focus of the event. They were first given in 1975, at the first World Fantasy Convention, and have been awarded annually since. Over the years that the award has been given, the categories presented have changed; currently World Fantasy Awards are given in five written categories, one category for artists, and four special categories for individuals to honor their general work in the field of fantasy.

Contents

The awards have been described by book critics such as The Guardian as a "prestigious fantasy prize", [1] and one of the three most prestigious speculative fiction awards, along with the Hugo and Nebula Awards (which cover both fantasy and science fiction). World Fantasy Award nominees and winners are decided by attendees of the convention and a panel of judges, typically made up of fantasy authors. Winners receive a small trophy; through the 2015 awards it was a bust of H. P. Lovecraft designed by cartoonist Gahan Wilson. The bust was retired following that year amid complaints about Lovecraft's history of racism; a new statuette designed by Vincent Villafranca depicting a tree in front of a full moon was released in 2017. The 2020 awards were presented at the 46th World Fantasy Convention in Salt Lake City, Utah, on November 1, 2020, and the 2021 awards will be presented at the 47th World Fantasy Convention in Montreal, Canada, on November 7, 2021.

History

Bust of H. P. Lovecraft used as award trophy from inception through 2015 World Fantasy Award bust.jpg
Bust of H. P. Lovecraft used as award trophy from inception through 2015

The World Fantasy Awards were established at the first World Fantasy Convention, an annual convention of professionals, collectors, and others interested in the field of fantasy, held that first year in horror writer H. P. Lovecraft's home city of Providence, Rhode Island in 1975. Winners were presented with a trophy in the form of a bust of an elongated caricature of Lovecraft designed by cartoonist Gahan Wilson, nicknamed the "Howard", which matched the theme of the first convention, "The Lovecraft Circle". [2] As stated by Wilson in First World Fantasy Awards: An Anthology of the Fantastic, "The point of the awards was, is, and hopefully shall be to give a visible, potentially usable, sign of appreciation to writers working in the area of fantastic literature, an area too often distinguished by low financial remuneration and indifference". [3]

At the start of the awards in 1975, seven categories were presented: Best Novel, Best Short Fiction, Best Collection, Best Artist, Special Award—Professional, Special Award—Non-professional, and Life Achievement. Only a few categories have changed since then, and no changes have been made to the rules. 1978 saw the addition of the Convention Award, a special award given for general contributions to the genre, and the only award not given every year since the beginning. The Short Fiction award was split into Short Story and Novella awards in 1982, and in 1988 the multi-author anthologies, previously eligible for the Collection award, were split into their own Best Anthology category. No changes have been made since. [4]

Winners were presented with the H. P. Lovecraft bust through the 2015 awards; at that ceremony the presenters announced that future ceremonies will no longer use the trophy. Although controversy had arisen in recent years over Lovecraft's history of racism, no explicit reason was given for the change. [5] A new statuette, designed by Vincent Villafranca, was announced in April 2017 to be used for the 2016 awards on. The new award, which depicts a tree in front of a full moon, was intended to evoke the use of trees and night imagery in mythology, fantasy, and horror works. [6]

Administration

World Fantasy Award nominees and winners are decided by judges and attendees of the World Fantasy Convention. A ballot is posted in June for attendees of the current and previous two conferences to determine two of the finalists, with the two most-nominated selected, and a panel of five judges adds three or more nominees before voting on the overall winner. [4] [7] The panel of judges is typically made up of fantasy authors, as well as other fantasy professionals [8] and is chosen each year by the World Fantasy Awards Administration, which has the power to break ties if the judges are deadlocked. [4] The awards administration is a subgroup of the World Fantasy Convention Board, which selects sites for upcoming World Fantasy Conventions. Both the board and the judges panel are largely made up of professionals in the field of fantasy. [9] The judges for the 2014 awards, for example, were authors Andy Duncan, Kij Johnson, Oliver Johnson, and Liz Williams, and editor John Klima. [10]

The nominees are announced in July, and final results are presented at the World Fantasy Convention around the end of October. The Life Achievement and Convention Awards do not list nominees, and instead have the winner announced along with the other categories' nominees. [7] The Life Achievement winner is decided by the judges panel, while the Convention award winner, not given every year, is selected by the convention organizers. [11] The World Fantasy Convention itself is a multi-day event with several hundred attendees taking place in a different city each year, usually in the United States but sometimes in Canada or the United Kingdom. In addition to the awards ceremony, the conventions include an art show, a dealer's room, autograph receptions, and numerous panels and discussions. [11] [12]

Categories

The World Fantasy Awards are split into ten categories, including both awards for written works and for professionals in the field. Eligibility requirements are loosely defined: works must have been published in the prior calendar year, and professionals must still be living. All types of fantasy works are accepted, regardless of subgenre or style, though whether a given work is considered to be fantasy is left up to the discretion of the nominators and judges. [7]

Across all categories, Ellen Datlow has both the most nominations and most wins of any nominee, with 10 wins out of 42 nominations, primarily for her anthologies. She is followed by Terri Windling with 9 out of 30 and Stephen Jones with 3 out of 28, both also mainly for editing anthologies. Jeffrey Ford has the highest number of wins after Datlow and Windling with 6 out of 14 nominations, and is tied for the highest number of fiction awards with Stephen King at four. [13]

Categories
Current categoriesYear startedCurrent description
Novel 1975Stories of 40,000 words or more
Novella 1982Stories of between 10,000 and 40,000 words
Short Fiction 1975Stories of less than 10,000 words
Collection 1975Collections of stories by a single author
Anthology 1988Anthologies of stories by multiple authors
Artist 1975Artists
Special Award—Professional 1975Professionals in the field of fantasy
Special Award—Non-professional 1975Non-professionals in the field of fantasy
Convention Award 1978Peerless contributions to the fantasy genre
Life Achievement 1975Outstanding service to the fantasy field

Recognition

The awards have been described by book critics such as The Guardian as a "prestigious fantasy prize", [1] and one of the three most prestigious speculative fiction awards, along with the Hugo and Nebula Awards (which cover both fantasy and science fiction). [14] [15] In 2010 multiple winner George R. R. Martin described winning the Hugo, Nebula, and "the prestigious World Fantasy Award" as the "triple crown". [16] Others have also noted the award's prestige in the field, such as Tachyon Publications and 2014 Best Anthology winner Gardner Dozois. [17] [18] Stephen Jones of the Best New Horror series has said that winning the anthology award for their first volume in 1991 helped "establish the series among readers and some publishers" in multiple countries. [19] Winners such as Nnedi Okorafor—Best Novel in 2011—have described the award as "one of my greatest honors as a writer". [20] Editor and bookseller Rick Klaw in 2007, however, noted that the consensus at the time "in the bookselling community" was that winning the novel category did not have any effect on sales and did not help keep the book in print, with 57 percent of prior winners out of print, compared to 23 percent of Hugo Award winners from the same time period. [21]

Two anthologies have been drawn from the World Fantasy Award winners: First World Fantasy Awards: An Anthology of the Fantastic in 1977, edited by Gahan Wilson and covering stories from the initial award year, and The World Fantasy Awards: Volume Two in 1980, edited by Stuart David Schiff and Fritz Leiber. [22] [23]

Controversies

Graphic novels

At the 1991 awards, graphic novel The Sandman issue #19 "A Midsummer Night's Dream", scripted by Neil Gaiman and illustrated by Charles Vess, won the award for Best Short Story. [24] It was reported that the rules were subsequently changed to prevent another graphic novel from winning, [15] though the awards administration stated that comics and graphic novels were not intended to be eligible for that category, and said that "Comics are eligible in the Special Award Professional category. We never made a change in the rules." [7]

H. P. Lovecraft bust

A minor controversy about the trophy occurred in 1984, when Donald Wandrei refused his Life Achievement award as he felt the award bust was a demeaning caricature of Lovecraft, whom he had known personally. Wandrei's rejected trophy was later recycled and given to another award winner. [25] [26]

A larger controversy surrounding the bust began in the 2010s, when several authors began to object to using the author H. P. Lovecraft as the symbol of the awards, given his outspoken racism, though others, such as Lovecraft scholar and World Fantasy Award winner S. T. Joshi, an Indian-American, claimed that Lovecraft's attitudes were not considered extreme at the time. [20] [27] Winners Okorafor and China Miéville noted in 2011 that they felt conflicted about being honored by a bust of a man who hated people of color. [20] Several authors and editors argued for the trophy to be changed, including a petition by author Daniel José Older in 2014, [1] an editorial by The New York Review of Science Fiction editor Kevin J. Maroney arguing that it should be changed "as a courtesy to generations of writers whom the WFA hopes to honor", [28] and 2014 Best Novel winner Sofia Samatar's acceptance speech. [5]

In September 2014, the administrators of the World Fantasy Award announced they were "in discussion" about the future of the award trophy. [1] In November 2015, at the 2015 awards, they announced that the Lovecraft bust would no longer be used beginning the following year. [5] Lenika Cruz, associate editor of The Atlantic , defended the decision, stating that "Lovecraft's removal is about more than just the writer himself; it's not an indictment of his entire oeuvre". [2] S. T. Joshi, however, expressed anger at the decision, and returned his two World Fantasy Awards and urged a boycott of the convention. [29]

Related Research Articles

World Fantasy Award—Novel Literary award for science fiction or fantasy novels in English

The World Fantasy Awards are given each year by the World Fantasy Convention for the best fantasy fiction published in English during the previous calendar year. The awards have been described by book critics such as The Guardian as a "prestigious fantasy prize", and one of the three most prestigious speculative fiction awards, along with the Hugo and Nebula Awards. The World Fantasy Award—Novel is given each year for fantasy novels published in English or translated into English. A work of fiction is defined by the organization as a novel if it is 40,000 words or longer; awards are also given out for pieces of shorter lengths in the Short Fiction and Novella categories. The Novel category has been awarded annually since 1975.

The World Fantasy Awards are given each year by the World Fantasy Convention for the best fantasy fiction published in English during the previous calendar year. The awards have been described by book critics such as The Guardian as a "prestigious fantasy prize", and one of the three most prestigious speculative fiction awards, along with the Hugo and Nebula Awards. The World Fantasy Award—Novella is given each year for fantasy stories published in English. A work of fiction is eligible for the category if it is between 10,000 and 40,000 words in length; awards are also given out for longer pieces in the Novel category and shorter lengths in the Short Fiction category. The Long Fiction category has been awarded annually since 1982, though between 1975—when the World Fantasy Awards were instated—and 1982 the short fiction category covered works of up to 40,000 words. In 2016, the name of the category was changed from Best Novella to Long Fiction.

Gahan Wilson American cartoonist

Gahan Allen Wilson was an American author, cartoonist and illustrator known for his cartoons depicting horror-fantasy situations.

The World Fantasy Awards are given each year by the World Fantasy Convention for the best fantasy fiction published in English during the previous calendar year. The awards have been described by book critics such as The Guardian as a "prestigious fantasy prize", and one of the three most prestigious speculative fiction awards, along with the Hugo and Nebula Awards. The World Fantasy Award—Anthology is given each year for anthologies of fantasy stories by multiple authors published in English. An anthology can have any number of editors, and works in the anthology may have been previously published; awards are also given out for collections of works by a single author in the Collection category. The Anthology category has been awarded annually since 1988, though from 1977 through 1987 anthologies were admissible as nominees in the Collection category. During the ten years they were admissible for that category they won the award seven times and represented 38 of the 56 nominations.

The World Fantasy Awards are given each year by the World Fantasy Convention for the best fantasy fiction published in English during the previous calendar year. The awards have been described by book critics such as The Guardian as a "prestigious fantasy prize", and one of the three most prestigious speculative fiction awards, along with the Hugo and Nebula Awards. The World Fantasy Award—Short Fiction is given each year for fantasy short stories published in English. A work of fiction is defined by the organization as short fiction if it is 10,000 words or less in length; awards are also given out for longer pieces in the Novel and Novella categories. The Short Fiction category has been awarded annually since 1975, though before 1982—when the category was instated—it was named "Best Short Fiction" and covered works of up to 40,000 words. It was then renamed "Best Short Story" until 2016, when it was renamed to the "Short Fiction" category.

The World Fantasy Awards are given each year by the World Fantasy Convention for the best fantasy fiction published in English during the previous calendar year. The awards have been described by book critics such as The Guardian as a "prestigious fantasy prize", and one of the three most prestigious speculative fiction awards, along with the Hugo and Nebula Awards. The World Fantasy Award—Collection is given each year for collections of fantasy stories by a single author published in English. A collection can have any number of editors, and works in the collection may have been previously published; awards are also given out for anthologies of works by multiple authors in the Anthology category. The Collection category has been awarded annually since 1975, though from 1977 through 1987 anthologies were admissible as nominees. Anthologies were split into a separate category beginning in 1988; during the 10 years they were admissible they won the award 7 times and were 38 of the 56 nominations.

The World Fantasy Awards are given each year by the World Fantasy Convention for the best fantasy fiction and art published during the preceding calendar year. The awards have been described by sources such as The Guardian as a "prestigious fantasy prize", and one of the three most renowned speculative fiction awards, along with the Hugo and Nebula Awards. The World Fantasy Award—Artist is given each year to artists of works related to fantasy released in the preceding calendar year. Fantasy artists are also eligible for the Special Award—Professional category. The Artist category has been awarded annually since 1975.

The World Fantasy Awards are given each year by the World Fantasy Convention for the best fantasy fiction and art published in English during the preceding calendar year. The awards have been described by sources such as The Guardian as a "prestigious fantasy prize", and one of the three most renowned speculative fiction awards, along with the Hugo and Nebula Awards. The World Fantasy Special Award—Professional is given each year to individuals for their professional work in the preceding calendar year in fields related to fantasy that is not covered by other World Fantasy Award categories. These have included editors of magazines and novels, publishers, and authors of non-fiction works. Occasionally, especially in the first few years of the award, some publishing companies were nominated along with individual editors and publishers. The nomination reasons were not specified in the first year of the award, and have sometimes not been specified beyond "contributions to the genre". Individuals are also eligible for the Special Award—Non-professional category for their non-professional work. The World Fantasy Special Award—Professional has been awarded annually since 1975.

The World Fantasy Awards are given each year by the World Fantasy Convention for the best fantasy fiction and art published in English during the preceding calendar year. The awards have been described by sources such as The Guardian as a "prestigious fantasy prize", and as one of the three most renowned speculative fiction awards, along with the Hugo and Nebula Awards. The World Fantasy Special Award—Non-professional is given each year to individuals for their non-professional work in the preceding calendar year in fields related to fantasy that are not covered by other World Fantasy Award categories. These have included editors of magazines and novels, publishers, and authors of non-fiction works. Occasionally some publishing companies have been nominated along with individual editors and publishers. The nomination reasons have sometimes not been specified beyond "contributions to the genre". Individuals are also eligible for the Special Award—Professional category for their professional work. The World Fantasy Special Award—Non-professional has been awarded annually since 1975.

The World Fantasy Awards are given each year by the World Fantasy Convention for the best fantasy fiction and fantasy art published in English during the preceding calendar year. The awards have been described by sources such as The Guardian as a "prestigious fantasy prize", and as one of the three most renowned speculative fiction awards, along with the Hugo and Nebula Awards. The World Fantasy Award—Life Achievement is given each year to individuals for their overall career in fields related to fantasy. These have included, for example, authors, editors, and publishers. The specific nomination reasons are not given, and nominees are not required to have retired, though they can only win once. The Life Achievement category has been awarded annually since 1975.

Gaylactic Spectrum Awards

The Gaylactic Spectrum Awards are given to works of science fiction, fantasy and horror that explore LGBT topics in a positive way. Established in 1998, the awards were initially presented by the Gaylactic Network, with awards first awarded in 1999. In 2002 the awards were given their own organization, the Gaylactic Spectrum Awards Foundation.

Ellen Datlow American science fiction, fantasy, and horror editor and anthologist

Ellen Datlow is an American science fiction, fantasy, and horror editor and anthologist, winner of the World Fantasy Award and the Bram Stoker Award.

Nnedi Okorafor Nigerian-American writer of fantasy and science fiction

Nnedimma Nkemdili "Nnedi" Okorafor is a Nigerian-American writer of fantasy and science fiction for both children and adults. She is best known for her Binti novellas and her novels Who Fears Death, Zahrah the Windseeker, Akata Witch, Lagoon and Remote Control. She has also written for comics and film.

Donald Wandrei American writer, poet and editor

Donald Albert Wandrei was an American science fiction, fantasy and weird fiction writer, poet and editor. He was the older brother of science fiction writer and artist Howard Wandrei. He had fourteen stories in Weird Tales, another sixteen in Astounding Stories, plus a few in other magazines including Esquire. Wandrei was the co-founder of the prestigious fantasy/horror publishing house Arkham House.

The World Fantasy Awards are given each year by the World Fantasy Convention for the best fantasy fiction published in English during the previous calendar year. The awards have been described by book critics such as The Guardian as a "prestigious fantasy prize", and one of the three most prestigious speculative fiction awards, along with the Hugo and Nebula Awards. The World Fantasy Convention Award is a special award given in some years for "peerless contributions to the fantasy genre". These have included authors, editors, and publishers. Other, annually-presented special awards are given out for professional or non-professional work in the prior year in the Special Award—Professional and Special Award—Non-professional categories. A Life Achievement award is also given annually. The World Fantasy Convention Award was first presented in 1978; it was awarded annually through 1987 and again in 1997 and 2013. It has not been awarded since, though it is still listed as an official category.

Fedogan & Bremer is a weird fiction specialty publishing house founded in Minneapolis, Minnesota in 1985 by Philip Rahman and Dennis Weiler. The name comes from the nicknames of the two founders when they were in college.

Dark Matter is an anthology series of science fiction, fantasy, and horror stories and essays produced by people of African descent. The editor of the series is Sheree Thomas. The first book in the series, Dark Matter: A Century of Speculative Fiction from the African Diaspora (2000), won the 2001 World Fantasy Award for Best Anthology. The second book in the Dark Matter series, Dark Matter: Reading the Bones (2004), won the World Fantasy Award for Best Anthology in 2005. A forthcoming third book in the series is tentatively named Dark Matter: Africa Rising.

Nebula Award Literature prize for science fiction and fantasy works from the United States

The Nebula Awards annually recognize the best works of science fiction or fantasy published in the United States. The awards are organized and awarded by the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America (SFWA), a nonprofit association of professional science fiction and fantasy writers. They were first given in 1966 at a ceremony created for the awards, and are given in four categories for different lengths of literary works. A fifth category for film and television episode scripts was given 1974–78 and 2000–09, and a sixth category for game writing was begun in 2018. In 2019 SFWA announced that two awards that were previously run under the same rules but not considered Nebula awards—the Andre Norton Award for Middle Grade and Young Adult Fiction and the Ray Bradbury Award for Outstanding Dramatic Presentation—were to be considered official Nebula awards. The rules governing the Nebula Awards have changed several times during the awards' history, most recently in 2010. The SFWA Nebula Conference, at which the awards are announced and presented, is held each spring in the United States. Locations vary from year to year.

Hugo Award Annual awards for science fiction or fantasy

The Hugo Award is an annual literary award for the best science fiction or fantasy works and achievements of the previous year, given at the World Science Fiction Convention and chosen by its members. The Hugo is widely considered the premier award in science fiction. The award is administered by the World Science Fiction Society. It is named after Hugo Gernsback, the founder of the pioneering science fiction magazine Amazing Stories. Hugos were first given in 1953, at the 11th World Science Fiction Convention, and have been awarded every year since 1955.

Hugo Award for Best Graphic Story Annual award for science fiction or fantasy

The Hugo Award for Best Graphic Story is given each year for science fiction or fantasy stories told in graphic form and published or translated into English during the previous calendar year. It has been awarded annually since 2009. The Hugo Awards have been described as "a fine showcase for speculative fiction" and "the best known literary award for science fiction writing".

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