The World Fantasy Awards
are annual, international awards given to authors and artists who have demonstrated outstanding achievement in the field of fantasy
Fantasy is a genre of fiction that commonly uses magic and other supernatural phenomena as a primary element of plot, theme, or setting. Many works within the genre take place in imaginary worlds where magic is common...
. Since 1975, when they were first awarded, they have been handed out at the World Fantasy Convention
The World Fantasy Convention is an annual convention of professionals, collectors, and others interested in the field of fantasy. It places emphasis on literature and art, while de-emphasizing dramatic presentation, gaming, masquerade, and the like. The World Fantasy Awards are presented at the...
The awards are considered among the most prestigious in the speculative fiction genre, and can be awarded to any work falling within the realm of fantasy, although some media are restricted to certain categories.
World Fantasy Award winners are chosen by a panel of judges, which differs every year. The judges who presided over the 2010 awards were Greg Ketter, Kelly Link
Kelly Link is an American editor and author of short stories. While some of her fiction falls more clearly within genre categories, many of her stories might be described as slipstream or magic realism: a combination of science fiction, fantasy, horror, mystery, and realism...
, Jim Minz, Jürgen Snoeren, and Gary K. Wolfe
Gary K. Wolfe is a science fiction editor, critic and biographer. He is a winner of the World Fantasy Award, the Pilgrim Award, the Eaton Award, BSFA award and been nominated for the Hugo Award for Best Related Book. He has had a monthly review column in Locus since 1991...
Winners are chosen from groups of nominees (generally five or six per category), also selected largely by the judges, with two picked by members of the annual WFC. The World Fantasy Awards thus differ significantly in administration from other notable genre awards, such as Hugos
The Hugo Awards are given annually for the best science fiction or fantasy works and achievements of the previous year. The award is named after Hugo Gernsback, the founder of the pioneering science fiction magazine Amazing Stories, and was officially named the Science Fiction Achievement Awards...
The Nebula Award is given each year by the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America , for the best science fiction/fantasy fiction published in the United States during the previous year...
. For the Hugos, the nominees and winners are chosen solely by members of the World Science Fiction Convention, while the Nebulas are awards for authors chosen by authors, specifically members of the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America
Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America, or SFWA is a nonprofit association of professional science fiction and fantasy writers. It was founded in 1965 by Damon Knight under the name Science Fiction Writers of America, Inc. and it retains the acronym SFWA after a very brief use of the SFFWA...
. Thus neither the Hugos nor Nebulas have overseeing judges.
Because of the small number of judges for the World Fantasy Awards, and because they usually try to read very comprehensively in the field, selections for the awards are often eclectic. For example, low-selling but high-quality works from small press
Small press is a term often used to describe publishers with annual sales below a certain level. Commonly, in the United States, this is set at $50 million, after returns and discounts...
publications, which may be overlooked by other awards, often receive a critical spotlight in the World Fantasy Awards.
The World Fantasy Awards are also unique in having categories for single-author collections and multi-author anthologies—categories which the Nebulas and Hugos lack.
At the 1991 awards, comic book The Sandman
issue #19 "A Midsummer's Night Dream", by Neil Gaiman
Neil Richard Gaiman born 10 November 1960)is an English author of short fiction, novels, comic books, graphic novels, audio theatre and films. His notable works include the comic book series The Sandman and novels Stardust, American Gods, Coraline, and The Graveyard Book...
, won the Award for Best Short Fiction. The widely-circulated story that the rules were subsequently changed to prevent another comic book from winning is not entirely true. The official website states: "Comics are eligible in the Special Award Professional category. We never made a change in the rules." Neil Gaiman and Charles Vess, however, won the Award under the Short Fiction and not the Special Award Professional category.
The award statue itself is a bust of H. P. Lovecraft
Howard Phillips Lovecraft --often credited as H.P. Lovecraft — was an American author of horror, fantasy and science fiction, especially the subgenre known as weird fiction....
in honor of his prolific work and contributions to the world of fantasy.
Current and past categories for the awards
- Novella (10,001 to 40,000 words)
- Short Fiction (under 10,000 words)
- Anthology (multiple author - original or reprint - single or multiple editors)
- Collection (single author - original or reprint - single or multiple editors)
- Special Awards
- Convention Award
This special World Fantasy Award is given for peerless contributions to the fantasy genre, and presented at the annual World Fantasy Convention. Past winners have included authors, artists, and publishers.-1978:...
- Life Achievement
- Special Award: Professional
- Special Award: Non-Professional