Convention Attention: The What and Where of Genre Awards
There’s been a lot of news lately — the Hugo ballot was announced, and the British Science Fiction Awards were presented at Eastercon! Awards season is upon us, which means it’s the perfect time to talk about other big genre awards, and which Conventions you can attend to watch the awards ceremonies. It’s one thing to see “Hugo Award Winner”, or “Philip K Dick Award Winner” on the front cover of the book you’re reading, but how awesome is it to actually watch that award be presented? Pretty darn awesome, that’s what.
In lieu of giving you paragraphs upon paragraphs of details of each and every award and convention, I have boiled this down to the basics: What is the award? At what Convention is it presented? Who has won it recently? I put in as many links as I could so you can learn more about the different awards and conventions at your leisure. For even more information about past winners, check out this meticulously curated awards database at the World without End Blog or Locus Onlin’s Science Fiction Awards Database.
In no particular order:
The British Science Fiction Awards were recently presented at Eastercon with winners including Ann Leckie, Gareth L. Powell, Nina Allen, Joey Hi-Fi, and Jeff VanderMeer. Click here for the full list of winners and nominees, and head over to Starship Sofa to hear the audio of all the nominated short stories (part one, part two). Nominated works must be published in the UK to qualify, but authors and creators do not need to be British or living in the UK. The BSFA awards started in 1970, with their first Best Novel award going to John Brunner’s Stand on Zanzibar, and recent notable winners include Lavie Tidhar, Aliette de Bodard, Ian Sales, Paul Cornell, China Miéville, Joey Hi-Fi, and Christopher Priest.
The Aurealis Awards recognize the achievements of Australian science fiction, fantasy and horror writers. What I most like about the Aurealis Awards is that they have different award categories for science fiction and for fantasy. There’s also awards for children’s fiction and for Young Adult novels. Recently awarded at Conflux in Canberra the winners included Max Barry, Mitchell Hogan, Allyse Near, Juliet Marillier, and many others. Other Aurealis Award winners include: Graeme Base, Thoraiya Dyer, Kaz Delaney, Jonathan Strahan, Margo Lanagan, Penni Russon, and Kim Westwood, among many others.
The Ditmar Awards are awarded by the Australian National Science Fiction Convention (NatCon). Similar to a Hugo, except on a National level instead of International, this year’s This years NatCon is Continuum 10, June 6-9 2014 in Melbourne. Ditmar winning authors include Kaaron Warren, Thoraiya Dyer, Margo Lanagan, Tansy Rayner Roberts, Cat Sparks, and many others. Also awarded under the Ditmars is the William Atheling Jr. Award for speculative fiction criticism.
Readercon, held in the Boston area every July, is lucky enough to host two genre awards, the Shirley Jackson Awards and the Rhysling Awards. The Shirley Jackson Award is given for outstanding achievement in horror, suspense, and dark fantasy. Recent Shirley Jackson award-winning authors include Robert Jackson Bennett, Koji Suzuki, Kaaron Warren, Sheri Holeman, Elizabeth Hand, and Maureen McHugh. The Rhysling Award is for science fiction poetry, and members of the Science Fiction Poetry Association nominate and vote for the winners. Recent winners include Catherynne M. Valente, Amal El-Motar, Geoffrey Landis, Andrew Robert Sutton, Megan Arkenberg, and Shira Lipkin, among others.
Although the name World Fantasy Awards and World Fantasy Convention implies this convention can move about the planet, it has most often been held in the US, with a few events taking place in Canada and the UK. This years World Fantasy Convention will be held November 6-9th in Washington DC, and previous conventions have been held in Brighton, UK; Columbus OH; Toronto, Canada; and San Jose California. Recent winners of note have included G. Willow Wilson, K.J. Parker, Carlos Ruiz Zafon, Lavie Tidhar, Ken Liu, Nnedi Okorafor, and Elizabeth Hand.
The Prix Aurora Awards are awarded by the Canadian Science Fiction and Fantasy Association, and presented at Canvention, which like many other national conventions, moves around the country. 2013 Canvention was in Ottawa, and the 2014 Canvention is at VCon in 39 in Vancouver Oct 3-5. There are awards for works published in French, a category for best poem/song, and multiple categories for fan created works. Recent winners include Tanya Huff, Robert J. Saywer, the Weregeek webcomic by Alina Pete, Charles deLint and the Speculating Canada blog.
The Philip K. Dick awards are presented at Norwescon in for “Best Original Paperback Published Each Year in the US”. The 2013 award was just announced, and the winner was Countdown City by Ben H. Winters. The award is organized and sponsored by the Philip K. Dick trust, the Philadelphia Science Fiction Society, and the Northwest Science Fiction Society, and has been given to a single notable work since 1982, with recent winners of note including Brian Francis Slattery, Simon Morden, Mark Hodder, and C.L. Anderson.
And last but certainly not least, the big one, the Oscars of the Science Fiction and Fantasy sphere: The Hugo Awards. (Click here for this year’s nominees.) The Hugos are awarded every year at the World Science Fiction Convention, also known as WorldCon. As the name implies, this convention actually does travel around the world, with future locations based on a system bids and voting. This Years WorldCon will be August 14-18 in London at LonCon3. The 2015 Worldcon will be held in Spokane, Washington, and previous WorldCons locations have included Chicago, Toronto, Boston, Yokohama, Melbourne, and Reno. If you are a voting member of LonCon3, you are now waiting impatiently for your Voter’s Packet to arrive.
If you’ve attended any of these awards ceremonies (or others that I missed), speak up in the comments, and let us know what your experience was like!
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