The David Gemmell Awards
On Friday night, Orbit UK attended the inaugural David Gemmell Legend Award for Fantasy, and a thoroughly enjoyable night was had by all. We were particularly excited, with our Brent Weeks on the five-book shortlist for The Way of Shadows [UK/US/ANZ]. Brent didn’t actually carry off the final award, but to win his place on the shortlist he fought off a strong list of almost eighty nominees so no mean feat. Surely Kylar would be proud!
The black-tie event was rather appropriately held at the Magic Circle headquarters in London, and we had to scale a rune-encrusted spiral staircase to reach the intimate plushly-red theatre. Or take the lift. All very atmospheric. And we were then treated to a short piece from Druss’s call to arms, read by James Barclay, before the ceremony itself. Our Hachette sister company Gollancz published the winning title in the UK, Blood of Elves, by Polish fantasy author Andrzej Sapkowski. However, as already reported, this was published by Orbit in the US so we also had cause to celebrate this too.
Jo Fletcher of Gollancz received the award itself – a huge great axe – on behalf of Andrzej Sapkowski courtesy of the Raven Armoury, but the short-listed authors also gained their very own mini-Snaga axes (to fight off the competition in future, no doubt …) We caught a few shots of Brent Weeks’ prize before putting it in the post to him, so see below for these. Other highlights included a charity auction, where prizes such as a rare first edition of Legend, use of a Jaguar for the weekend and the right to be written into Stan Nicholls’ next novel were up for grabs. Money raised went to Medecins Sans Frontieres. Here are some other comments, pictures, blogs etc. from the night from the British Fantasy Society, SFX and the MyFavouriteBooks blog.
The award itself is designed to honour the memory of David Gemmell and also to raise the profile of fantasy fiction in the UK. We don’t currently have a fantasy award to call our own, and organiser Deborah Miller and her team thought it was high time they did something about this, helped by French genre publishers Bragelonne, sponsoring this year’s event. Read more on Deborah’s mission here. Certainly the first event was a huge success and long may it continue! It’s great that fantasy talent can be recognised and rewarded in this way and if brings more people to enjoy the books, that’s great news too. And that’s not just from the Publisher’s point of view, honest.
‘A proper good yarn … Weeks tells his tale skilfully and tautly. And he dazzles with some jaw-dropping moments’ SFX
‘This unapologetically grim fantasy fable serves up a heady mix …. never wears out its 650-page welcome’ DeathRay
‘The most impressive debut novel I’ve read this year’ SFFworld.com
More pictures below the jump