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Black Gate Wins World Fantasy Award

Sunday, October 30th, 2016 | Posted by John ONeill


I’ve just returned from the World Fantasy Convention in Columbus, Ohio, where I got the chance to meet up with several of our talented and far-flung contributors, including Bob Byrne, Patty Templeton, C.S.E. Cooney, Matthew Wuertz, Sarah Avery, Fred Durbin, Ellen Klages, Amal El-Mohtar, Derek Künsken, Brandon Crilly, Marie Bilodeau, David B. Coe, Jeffrey Ford, and many others.

But the highlight of the weekend — by a pretty wide margin — was receiving the World Fantasy Special Award in the Nonprofessional category. Here’s the text of the brief acceptance speech I hastily sketched out on my cell phone, just before the banquet ended.


In 1996, I started SF Site, one of the first genre websites. It quickly grew to over 150,000 readers per month. By 1998, as the most innovative and forward-thinking publications in the genre were creating the first ground-breaking websites, we decided to do something REALLY forward-thinking: Launch a print magazine.

Black Gate lasted for 15 print issues, until 2011. In November 2008 our Managing Editor, Howard Andrew Jones, said we should revamp the magazine’s website. I was the voice of reason. “Seriously, who wants to read more than one article a month, Jones?”

Undaunted, Howard put together a top-notch team of writers, and committed to putting daily content on the Black Gate blog. It was his vision, and speaking personally, I still think it’s completely bonkers.

But thanks to Bill Ward, David Soyka, Scott Oden, James Enge, EE Knight, Judith Berman, Rich Horton, and especially Ryan Harvey for getting the site off the ground (I still think it’s a crazy idea).

In 2010, C.S.E. Cooney commented that my articles would be taken more seriously if the majority of the words were spelled correctly. She became our first website editor, and she did an extraordinary job. She raised our standards enormously.

Today Black Gate has 58 regular and semi-regular bloggers — including many of you in the audience. Our mandate is to cover the best neglected fantasy, past and present.

We’ve received many honors over the last decade, but nothing like this. This is the highlight of 20 years of love and celebration of fantasy, and on behalf of the entire Black Gate community, thank you from the bottom of my heart.

The World Fantasy Award is a juried award, given out by a team of judges. But that doesn’t mean that we’re not also extremely grateful to you, our readers and fans, who have been loudly advocating on our behalf for the past few years. You are the reason we do this, each and every day.

See last year’s winners here.

See the complete list of 2016 winners here — and special congratulations to C.S.E. Cooney, who won for her debut collection Bone Swans!


  1. Congratulations, John!
    I’m pretty sure I know what this means to you.
    And I’m even more certain that this kind of recognition was all but inevitable.
    Good show, man. Your fierce, palpable love of the fiction you champion here is inspired and inspiring.

    Comment by John Hocking - October 31, 2016 6:43 am

  2. So well deserved! What fantastic news! Brilliant!

    Comment by peadarog - October 31, 2016 7:02 am

  3. Congratulations! There’s a reason I keep coming back here …

    Comment by Joe H. - October 31, 2016 7:26 am

  4. Well John Hocking’s sentiments are spot on. Well deserved congratulations for sustained championing of heroic fiction!

    Comment by SELindberg - October 31, 2016 7:50 am

  5. Whoa, whoa, whoa: what’s all this “spell words correctly” stuff? New rules coming down already???? This award has changed you, man!


    Comment by Bob Byrne - October 31, 2016 7:53 am

  6. Congratulations to all the Black Gate staff and contributors, and especially to the person who anchors the community with encouragement, enthusiasm, and love, John O’Neill.

    And an extra shout-out to Ms. Cooney for the “Best Collection” award given to her Bone Swans.

    Comment by Eugene R. - October 31, 2016 9:03 am

  7. I am truly glad to see BG receive an honor it definitely deserves, and was equally glad when CSE Cooney also won a World Fantasy Award.

    Comment by Amy Bisson - October 31, 2016 9:06 am

  8. I’ll bet you even beat the point spread! Congratulations!

    Comment by Thomas Parker - October 31, 2016 9:15 am

  9. Congrats John and all of the hard work done by everyone else at Blackgate! Well-deserved!

    Comment by James McGlothlin - October 31, 2016 9:42 am

  10. Congratulations. A well-deserved award.

    Comment by Davide Mana - October 31, 2016 10:15 am

  11. […] […]

    Pingback by Ganz herzlichen Glückwunsch an Black Gate! | OliBlog - October 31, 2016 12:40 pm

  12. As a print subscriber turned daily blog visitor, I say the award is well deserved. Congratulations!

    Comment by R.K. Robinson - October 31, 2016 1:20 pm

  13. Congratulations for this well-deserved honor!!!

    BLACK GATE forever!!!

    Comment by John R. Fultz - October 31, 2016 2:09 pm

  14. Huge COGNRATS from Barsoomia and the Strange Worlds Anthology team !

    Comment by Barsoomia - October 31, 2016 3:46 pm

  15. Being in the room for the announcements was such a joy. We partisans of John and Claire bellowed our approval like barbarians. REH would have approved of the gigantic mirth.

    Comment by Sarah Avery - October 31, 2016 10:31 pm

  16. Great news, John – and richly deserved. I check out Black Gate daily for recommendations (thanks to whoever recommended ‘The Mask of the Sorcerer’ btw).

    Comment by Aonghus Fallon - November 1, 2016 5:34 am

  17. Congratulations, John and Black Gate. The enthusiasm, support and dedication you’ve shown as an individual, and that all of the regular contributors here continue to demonstrate day after day, have meant a great deal to a great many. This recognition is well-deserved. Huzzah!

    -Jason Thummel

    Comment by Jason T - November 1, 2016 7:38 am

  18. Thanks to all for the congratulations! I’m still digging out from all the e-mail and Facebook messages we received… it was a joy to receive the award, and the platitudes that continue to roll in are extending the celebrations the entire week.

    Mr. Hocking — thanks for the kind thoughts. Your words “Your fierce, palpable love of the fiction you champion” struck home. It’s something special to receive an award for celebrating something you love. It’s a great world we live in.

    Mr. Byrne — Stop writing thoughtful comments and get back to work! I want two more MODULAR columns out of you.

    Eugene & Amy — your kind thoughts for Cooney are much appreciated! The celebratory shouts from the crowd when I won were marvelous, but they were NOTHING to the bedlam that erupted when Cooney won. She’s really going places.

    Sarah — So glad you could be with us!

    Aonghus — Pretty sure it was Fletcher who covered MASK OF THE SORCERER last week!

    Comment by John ONeill - November 1, 2016 10:19 am

  19. John, our heartfelt congratulations to you and your wonderful contributors both for your award and for Blackgate’s. We’re proud to have long been among your supporters. Black Gate’s depth, breadth, and intimacy make it unique. Even before you dubbed us ‘fantasy’s power couple,’ Black Gate had become our go-to stop for news in the field. You guys rule! — Janet Morris and Chris Morris

    Comment by sacredbander - November 1, 2016 11:58 am

  20. I’m honored for the mention. And this had made me realize it’s time for me to come back to regularly writing for this awesome publication. I’m flattered that John puts so much stock in my contribution… I was just glad to be there at the beginning.

    Comment by Ryan Harvey - November 1, 2016 4:00 pm

  21. Like Ryan, I am honored for the mention.

    Recognition for John’s work on Black Gate is looooong overdue by the larger community. He has been a tireless advocate for the fiction I love (and related genres) and more — he has been a constant source of support for countless writers out there, myself included, and is extremely giving of his time and energy. Well done, John.

    I have to give credit where credit is due. While I had spoken with John about doing something more with the web site, it was Leo Grin who proposed the round robin blog idea. Without him, who knows what BG would be like today? (I know it would certainly look different, for he’s also the man, who, during his brief tenure as web site manager, revamped its look to the one you’re currently familiar with.)

    Comment by Managing Editor Howard Andrew Jones - November 2, 2016 7:16 am

  22. The award was well-deserved, oh BG folks. Congrats again!

    Comment by akomins - November 3, 2016 9:42 am

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