Black Gate Wins World Fantasy Award

Black Gate Wins World Fantasy Award


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!

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John Hocking

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.


So well deserved! What fantastic news! Brilliant!

Joe H.

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


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

Bob Byrne

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


Eugene R.

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.

Amy Bisson

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.

Thomas Parker

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

James McGlothlin

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

Davide Mana

Congratulations. A well-deserved award.

R.K. Robinson

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

John R. Fultz

Congratulations for this well-deserved honor!!!

BLACK GATE forever!!!


Huge COGNRATS from Barsoomia and the Strange Worlds Anthology team !

Sarah Avery

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.

Aonghus Fallon

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

Jason T

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


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

Ryan Harvey

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.

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.)


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

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