01/08/2012. Contributed by Pauline Morgan
Friday 15th June 2012 saw many of the illuminati of the fantasy community gathered at the headquarters of the Magic Circle in London for the fourth year of the presentation of the Gemmell Awards. Publishers, writers, artists, critics and other hangers on arrived, not only to find out who the winners were but to honour the man in whose memory they are awarded.
As we arrived we were presented with a welcoming glass of buck’s fizz and the opportunity to view the items to be auctioned later. Once everyone had had the chance to relax, we were ushered upstairs into the auditorium.
Proceedings were opened by Anne Nicholls who read an extract from David Gemmell’s novel ‘Waylander’. It was an evocative piece, a dialogue between a young girl and an old warrior showing the depth of characterisation typical of his work and the kind of writing for which this award is given.
Stan Nicholls (below left) and Debbie Miller were the compéres for the evening and first introduced this year’s auctioneer, Chris Morgan (photo below right).
The auction of ten lots donated by various people and organisations, raises money to fund the event and the administration to run the Awards as well as provide the trophies. A list of the lots had also been available on-line allowing interested parties to make postal or phone bids prior to the auction itself. The highest priced item this year was £500 bid by one lucky person to have 10,000 words of their manuscript edited by Gollancz’s editor Gillian Redfearn. Some items were unique, such as the signed print of New Zealand artist Frank Victoria’s nominated artwork for the cover of ‘Oracle’s Fire’ by Mary Victoria. This beautiful item went for £55. There were also other bargains.
Then down to the real business of the evening. Awards were given in three categories; Best Fantasy Novel, Best Newcomer and Best Cover Art. Earlier in the year, the list of eligible work appeared on the website with readers all over the world asked to nominate their choices. From this, a short list of six in each category were listed and visitors to the website asked to vote again, this time for the winner. In total there were 18,943 votes from 93 different countries.
The presenters of the awards themselves were chosen because they had connections with David Gemmell, memories of discovering his work or had been encouraged by his enthusiasm. Each told their story before announcing the winners and presenting the magnificent trophies.
The Ravenheart Award for Best Fantasy Cover Art was presented by Fangorn (Chris Baker) and went to Raymond Swanland for his cover on ‘Blood Of Aenarion’ by William King.
The Morningstar Award for Best Fantasy Newcomer was presented by Debbie Miller to New Zealander Helen Lowe for ‘The Heir Of Night’.
The Legend Award for Best Fantasy Novel was presented by Stéphane Marsan (right) and was won by American Patrick Rothfuss for ‘The Wise Man’s Fear’.
Unfortunately, none of the recipients were present to receive their honours which were all collected by proxies.
The business of the evening over, drinks and canapés were served to celebrate the winners in their absence.
Next year, the award ceremony will be an integral part of the World Fantasy Convention to be held from 31st October to 3rd November 2013 in Brighton (visit www.fc2013.org for more details) and keep an eye of the Gemmell awards official website www.gemmellaward.com to discover how you can add your voice to next year’s voting.
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