For those who where in the banquet room and wondered at my tongue-tied floundering, believe me when I say that I was so totally unprepared for it all that my mind was, at that moment, a total blank! Stunned, bewildered and just plain gobsmacked only begins to describe my winning the Karl Edward Wagner Award from the British Fantasy Society; truly, it came totally out of the blue.
So many people were crammed in to watch the awards ceremony that, despite extra chairs being parachuted in, it was standing room only at the back. Suffering lack of sleep, as you do at these convention weekends, and knowing my poor old knees where not going to survive that long on my feet, I had elected to sit in the bar, (which was close enough to hear the applause). Besides, I knew that all the details would reach us bar flies soon enough along the con-telegraph.
When the announcement was made, I am told that somebody shouted out ‘She’s in the bar!’, which was greeted with tolerant laughter. Karl would have been proud of me.
The first I knew, however, was Pauline Morgan hoving into view shouting, ‘Oi, you – get in there! Pronto!’
Now, when Pauline tells you to move you don’t ask questions, so as I hurried into the banqueting room, I was totally unprepared for what was to come. I paused for a moment, realising by the way everyone was looking in my direction, that something was afoot.
I hadn’t any pre-composed speech (well, why would I?) nor had even time to think far beyond the instant.
‘Get to the platform,’ Pauline hissed from behind me. I took several bows to cover my confusion and raced on, arriving at the podium to broad grins from Ramsey Campbell and Phil Lunt. Still totally at sea I whispered to Phil, ‘What’s going on?’
‘You have an award,’ he whispered back.
‘Me? What award? What for?’
‘It’s the Karl Edward Wagner Award…’
I hadn’t any pre-composed speech (well, why would I?) nor even time to think far beyond the instant. I ‘believe’ I managed to stammer something along the lines of ‘Gosh… Thank you…’ before reeling away, beaming, bemused and bewildered beyond mere words.
All of the above aside, let me take the time now to say a proper thank you to the British Fantasy Society and the Fantasycon committees.
To receive the Karl Edward Wagner Award is an honour that I am still not convinced I deserve, but I accept it with humble thanks. I have been around long enough to recall Karl and his unstinting support of Fantasycon and the BFS. His imposing presence and impeccable Southern manners were always a delight, as was his impish sense of humour. (And as I have already said he would have been highly amused by the above events.) As a writer of fantasy fiction and editor of so many fine anthologies, promoting and supporting writers along the way, his passing was and still is keenly felt, which for me, at least, makes the award all the more poignant.
So, once again, my heartfelt thanks to all of those responsible for the honour and privilege of having a British Fantasy Karl Edward Wagner Award – and indeed, my heartiest congratulations to all of this years’ recipients of various British Fantasy Awards. (pics to follow Continue reading