Well that was certainly an eventful weekend…
I left for Readercon, one of my favourite conventions, on Friday afternoon. I was terribly late registering due to a variety of personal circumstances, so I didn’t make it onto any programming. I couldn’t even get a room in the con hotel. Basically, everything was set up for a very quiet con, which was actually pretty welcome. It didn’t quite turn out that way.
I received a call from Navah on Friday just as I was about to board the plane and learned that The Starlit Wood is a finalist for the British Fantasy Award. It came as on hell of a surprise. The full list of nominees is available here. I’m particularly happy to see People of Colo(u)r Destroy Science Fiction as another finalist in the anthology category.
The conference was quite wonderful, as always. I like the new location, and it was a real pleasure to spend so much time surrounded by such passionate people. The absence of my usual group resulted in me spending a lot of time with new friends, and that was also lovely. One of the high points was definitely staying up on the patio till sunrise on Saturday and having all manner of weird and wonderful discussions.
Then, on Sunday, this happened:
That’s right, we won the Shirley Jackson Award for Edited Anthology. It felt a little surreal. This was my first con as a nominee, and I was a bit of a nervous wreck for the acceptance speech. The ceremony started with F. Brett Cox delivering an excellent speech on behalf of Ruth Franklin, the recipient of the Board of Directors Award for her biography Shirley Jackson: A Rather Haunted Life, which I really must read. Then Naomi Novik discussed Jackson’s legacy and the importance of her work. Again, wonderful stuff.
When it came to the actual award portion I was terribly nervous. I can steel myself just fine for panels and readings because I’m prepared for them, and I do genuinely enjoy it once I’m on the stage, but in this case not knowing was really quite nerve-wracking. When Naomi (herself a contributor to the book) announced The Starlit Wood as the winner I felt my knees go weak, and I walked up to the stage with my legs shaking. I know awards don’t mean much to some folks, but it’s been a difficult year for me in terms of health, and this recognition has been incredibly uplifting. As I said in my speech, it is heartening as this is the first of several collaborations with Navah, and we’re incredibly proud of the work we’re doing together.
I was actually messaging Navah throughout the ceremony, informing her of the winners. When it came to our category I told her it was our turn, and then I failed to message for several minutes. She was actually able to tune in to Scott Edelman’s live video of the ceremony and catch me walking down the ramp with the award, so she knew then we’d won. Afterwards my phone exploded with notifications and messages from friends, family, and acquaintances. Later I was able to get pictures with the trophy and contributors who were attending the con – Karin Tidbeck, Daryl Gregory, Max Gladstone, Catherynne M. Valente, and Naomi Novik. I also got a picture with Ellen Dattlow, which meant a lot because her anthologies have had a great influence on me.
Thank you again to all those who have supported this project. It is very dear to my heart, and seeing the book’s reception has been overwhelming. Congratulations also to the other winners, and to all the nominees. The full list of nominees and winners can be found here.
So yeah, that was my weekend. I think I’m ready for a few quiet days now.