Crawford Award

Award season continues. As reported at Locus Online, the shortlist for this year’s Crawford Award, for best first fantasy book (previous winners here) is:

A Shadow in Summer by Daniel Abraham
Skinny-Dipping in the Lake of the Dead by Alan DeNiro
The Stolen Child by Keith Donohue
In the Forest of Forgetting by Theodora Goss
The Lies of Locke Lamora by Scott Lynch
Temeraire by Naomi Novik
Map of Dreams by M. Rickert

The winner will be announced at the International Conference on the Fantastic in the Arts in March.

8 thoughts on “Crawford Award

  1. Niall:

    I couldn’t help noticing that Skinny-Dipping in the Lake of the Dead by Alan DeNiro was nominated for the Crawford and that Kelly Link, the book’s publisher, was also one of the judges. I’m not suggesting anything improper occurred. Rather, I’m curious about what you think the criteria for award judges should be. It’s a small field, I know. But should judges with an obvious financial stake in the industry participate in the awards process? I’m sure there are more egregious examples, to be sure.

    The Crawford has quite a track record, discovering such writers as Charles de Lint, Steph Swainson, Greer Gilman, Susan Palwick, Johnathan Lethem, K. J. Bishop, Alexander C. Irvine, and Jasper Fforde. It has helped me find a lot of writers I’d have missed otherwise, but this makes me wonder.

    Miggy

  2. Miggy

    I was one of the other nominators for the Crawford, and so may be able to give a partial answer to your question. The process of nominating/discussing titles for the Crawford happened entirely by email (as is necessary, with us on so many continents), with Gary Wolfe acting as chair/ringmaster. Kelly Link sat out the discussion of the De Niro – it was another judge who first raised it, she didn’t prompt the discussion about it, etc etc. Indeed, at one point, she said in so many words that she couldn’t get involved in the discussion. While I can’t speak for Gary about how judges are selected, I’d note that she (with Gavin Grant) edits the fantasy half of the Datlow et al Year’s Best, and so has the sort of broad and deep reading in the field one would look for in a judge.

  3. World Fantasy Award judges are also not-uncommonly people with a financial or other stake in the field; I believe they also recuse themselves from categories where this stake would become a conflict.

  4. Graham:

    I’m familair with Link’s qualifications (and Gavin’s too). I’m sure everything in this case was handled in a dignified matter, as you suggest.

    I guess what I’m asking is, given the inevitable conflicts, shouldn’t publishers, editors, and agents (or anybody else with a vested stake (where the success of various authors could be tied directly to their own success) be naturally excluded from judging awards like the Crawford, Nebulas, Tiptree, or PKD Awards?

    This kind of thing goes on all the time, to be sure. But just because Kelly Link is a wonderful editor and a stand up girl, doesn’t mean that the next person in her position will be, too.

  5. Miggy, I think it’s probably something that has to be taken on a case-by-case basis. So I don’t think (as your last paragraph implies) judging roles should or would be inherited, but I wouldn’t want to say that publishers/editors/agents should be automatically excluded from judging, because I agree with Graham that they can bring a useful perspective. In general I think awards are strongest when they draw on a wide range of perspectives.

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