I do know a few things about my speech! It was short. It had three basic parts:
I think I started by saying "What is going on" or something like that. This is the part of the speech in which I talked about how honored I am to have won this award, and how as a newcomer I'm pretty overwhelmed by the recognition my work has received from the SFF community. I thanked Gary K. Wolfe for his early review in Locus, because it helped get my book into people's hands. I may have thanked Small Beer Press at this point. I don't know! Write your speeches down and read them! It's not hard!
2. The Elephant in the Room
I think I used those words. I think I said "I can't sit down without addressing the elephant in the room, which is the controversy surrounding the image that represents this award." I said it was awkward to accept the award as a writer of color. (See this post by Nnedi Okorafor, the 2011 winner, if you are confused about why.) I also thanked the board for taking the issue seriously, because at the beginning of the ceremony, Gordon van Gelder stood up and made an announcement to that effect: "The board is taking the issue very seriously, but there is no decision yet." I just wanted them to know that here I was in a terribly awkward position, unable to be 100% thrilled, as I should be, by winning this award, and that many other people would feel the same, and so they were right to think about changing it.
|thanks for the pic, Scott Edelman!|
3. Small Beer Rules
Then I raved about the amazing Small Beer Press and how Gavin Grant and Kelly Link are the best team in the world. I pointed out that Nathan Ballingrud was also nominated for a World Fantasy Award this year, for his collection North American Lake Monsters, and that both of us are debut authors from Small Beer. Gavin and Kelly have a wonderful eye for fiction AND they take chances on new authors. Huge thanks to them, and to you all! And then I sat down.
A few more thoughts
Here are a few more thoughts I'll add because this has now become my post on the World Fantasy Awards controversy.
a) Nobody's post about winning an award should turn into a post about controversy! Everyone should be able to announce their awards with unadulterated joy! And unless the statue is changed, there will be a lot more posts like this. Can we not?
b) I don't think the statue should be an image of any person.
c) I am not telling anybody not to read Lovecraft. I teach Lovecraft! I actually insist that people read him and write about him! For grades! This is not about reading an author but about using that person's image to represent an international award honoring the work of the imagination.
d) I discovered, with a horror I'm sure Lovecraft would share, that we look a lot alike.
|trying to make Lovecraft's face & succeeding all too well|
Thanks for reading.