The World Fantasy Awards are presented during the World Fantasy Convention and are selected by a mix of nominations from members of the convention and a panel of judges. The awards were established in 1975 and presented at the 1st World Fantasy Convention in Providence, Rhode Island. Traditionally, the awards took the form of a bust of H.P. Lovecraft sculpted by Gahan Wilson, however in recent years the trophy became controversial in light of Lovecraft’s more problematic beliefs. The Professional Special Award has been part of the award since its founding. In 1980, the year Grant received the award for his work on Fantasy Newsletter, the convention was held in Baltimore, Maryland. Grant had previously received the award in 1976 and would receive the award again in 1983. In addition, Grant received A World Fantasy Con Special Convention Award in 1984 and was named a Grand Master in 2003.
Donald M. Grant became interested in reading science fiction and fantasy when he was 10 years old. He co-founded his first publishing company, Grant-Hadley, with Thomas Hadley in 1945 and they published Rhode Island on Lovecraft. The next year, Kenneth Krueger joined the company and Grant was inducted into the military. The company changed its name to The Buffalo Book Company and they published The Time Stream, by John Taine and the first edition of The Skylark of Space, by E.E. “Doc” Smith. Grant and Krueger wound up leading the company, which took on the name The Hadley Publishing Company, which published four more volumes over the next three years.