I love this picture! (Photo by Annie Czajkowski)
The ceremony was held at Fantasycon on Saturday 24th September. This isn't a post about Fantasycon but I will say that it was a good convention, and that the redcloaks were as hard working and fabulous as ever.
I have to admit, that when I went to the ceremony, I was really nervous! In fact, I'd been getting nervous for at least an hour or two before.
The ceremony began with Phil Lunt reading from David Gemmell's Legend. Readings can be tough at the best of times but I can only imagine the pressure that Phil must have felt that night. But I have to say he did an EXCELLENT job. While I was listening to him, it suddenly struck me how much impact David Gemmell has had on other writers. I'd watched a panel last year where I'd heard people like Ian Whates and Ed Cox speak to his qualities as a writer but also as an inspiration. And when Phil was reading, I could hear some of the rhythm and mood of Druss in Steve Aryan's Battlemage and the character of Vargus.
I'd always known that Gemmell was important, but in that moment I was suddenly aware of the very real ripples of his influence impacting on a new generation of writers.
There was something very human and humbling about the ceremony. It was personal. Stan and Anne Nicholls were there as friends as much as organisers. And Andy Remic gave a hilarious recounting of his fan letters to David Gemmell and the replies he got. Frances Hardinge was brilliant as ever, and her delight at getting to wield an axe in public was something to behold.
Natasha Bardon tries to collect the axe for Mark Lawrence but I'm not sure Frances is going to hand it over without a fight… (Photo by Peter Coleborn)
It was cool getting my award given to me by Scott Lynch too! He gave a great speech about the joys of being a debut, and it was clear that David Gemmell himself had been a strong supporter of new writers. For my part I mostly shook Scott's hand, said thank you repeatedly, and grinned at everybody.
So, at the risk of being unBritish about this, it was an incredible night! I've never won anything before*, and the reaction from the room when The Vagrant was announced is something I'll never forget.
(Photo by Peter Coleborn)
Thanks to everyone who voted, you are wonderful!
Big congrats to Mark Lawrence for winning the Legend, and Jason Chan** for winning the Ravenheart too!
*Not on my own, anyway.
**I hadn't realised he'd worked on Mass Effect 3 and Dragon Age too! Check out the site.