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Arthur C. Clarke Awards 2012.

01/06/2012. Contributed by Pauline Morgan

Buy The Testament of Jessie Lamb in the USA - or Buy The Testament of Jessie Lamb in the UK

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An examination by: Pauline Morgan. The good news is that there is a winner. Jane Rogers won the award for her novel, The Testament of Jessie Lamb.

The rest was a little disappointing.

Perhaps it is the difference in time. It is certainly a knock on effect of death of Arthur C. Clarke.

I spent two years on the judging panel, the maximum that can be served. The awards event was an excellent one to attend for a number of reasons.

Since then, this year was the first time I had actually been invited to attend.

This is also the first year that people have been asked to pay for their admittance tickets, a fee of £12. As a result, there were a lot of empty seats in the auditorium.

With the invitation to purchase a ticket, no reason was given for this innovation but since these events can be expensive to put on it seems a reasonable cost or it would have been if the same high standard had been kept up.

Free wine and beer was provided to guests, as was ice-cream on entering the auditorium, but where was the food? Last time I went, plates of canapés made a continual stream from the backstage area. This time there was not even a peanut or a crisp.

The ceremony was more or less the same, a thanking of those who needed to be there, etc. The judges were named but not introduced and the prize was awarded. No mention this time of the cheque that used to be handed over just the bookend.

After this, the attendees were invited to go over to the Piccadilly Institute, where a room had been booked. While quirky drinks were served in laboratory beakers, this venue was so noisy that in was impossible to hold any sort of conversation with anyone and the volume got louder.

Yes, I enjoyed the excuse of a day out in London, but having to pay train fare and taxi when I got back to Birmingham made me wonder if the awards themselves are doing themselves a disservice, especially when compared with the Gemmell Legend Awards.

Last year, the Gemmells, to be presented on 15th June this year, were a very superior affair. They raise their money for the event and trophies by hard work to gain sponsorship from publishers and an auction on the night for a number of items donated by authors and publishers.

If this is a permanent change for the Clarke’s it is not a good one and may well dent the prestige of the Award.

© Pauline Morgan 2012

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