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!