At a ceremony held on Sunday afternoon in the East Midlands Conference Centre and Orchard Hotel in Nottingham, following a mighty meal of courses including home cured ham salad, ricotta and spinach gnocci and a lime jelly served with dark chocolate and salted sauce, the winners of the 2015 British Fantasy Awards were announced to a room full of full people, I’m sure, in addition to any number of other FantasyCon 2015 attendees.
The first award of the afternoon, alphabetically at least, was to act an indicator of what was to come: a diverse and I dare say deserving array of acclamations for the best authors, artists, editors and other entities involved in the British genre fiction industry.
To begin: Best Anthology went to Women Destroy Science Fiction, a special issue of Lightspeed Magazine edited by Christie Yant.
Painter Karla Ortiz—the same Karla Ortiz our own Irene Gallo shone a spotlight on several Septembers ago—was named Best Artist over Ben Baldwin, Vincent Chong, Les Edwards, Sarah Anne Langton and Daniele Serra.
Beating out competition from the likes of Lavie Tidhar, Carole Johnstone, Helen Marshall and Hal Duncan, Adrian Cole took home the trophy Best Collection for Nick Nightmare Investigates out of The Alchemy Press and Airgedlámh Publications.
Through the Woods by Emily Carroll, which I really am going to have to read now, was named Best Comic/Graphic Novel rather than 2013 winner Saga, which was nominated alongside Cemetery Girl, Grandville Noel, Seconds and finally The Wicked + The Divine.
The first of the big hitters in my book, the Robert Holdstock Award for Best Fantasy Novel, went to Francis Hardinge for Cuckoo Song, which I confess I had never heard of. And just like that I know what I’ll be reading this week.
Guardians of the Galaxy won Best Film/Television Episode, because of course it did.
Meanwhile, the August Derleth Award for Best Horror Novel went to previous British Fantasy Award-winner Adam Nevill for No One Gets Out Alive. Not The End by Gary McMahon, not The Girl With All the Gifts by M. R. Carey, not The Last Plague by Rich Hawkins, not The Unquiet House by Alison Littlewood, not even Arthur C. Clarke Award-winner Station Eleven by Emily St John Mandel: none of those awesome horror novels got out alive.
Adele Wearing’s Fox Spirit Books took home Best Independent Press, the award formerly known as Best Small Press, over Newcon Press, Spectral Press and The Alchemy Press, the co-publisher of the year’s Best Collection.
Holdfast Magazine saw off competition from Black Static, Interzone, Lightspeed and Sein und Werden to win Best Magazine/Periodical. Congrats to its editors Laurel Sills and Lucy Smee.
The Sydney J. Bounds Award for Best Newcomer went to Sarah Lotz—which is to say one half of S. L. Grey, the other half of Lily Herne, and one third of Helena S. Paige—for her first solo story, The Three.
Letters to Arkham, a collection of the missives Ramsey Campbell and August Derleth composed between 1961 and 1971, edited by S.T. Joshi and published by PS, was given Best Non-Fiction.
Best Novella went to Newspaper Heart, a Stephen Volk joint from The Spectral Book of Horror Stories, which was also nominated for Best Anthology.
Emma Newman was awarded Best Short Story for ‘A Woman’s Place’ out of Abaddon’s Sherlock Holmes collection, Two Hundred and Twenty-One Baker Streets—which, oddly enough, was not nominated for Best Anthology.
And last but not least, as winner of the Karl Edward Wagner Special Award, Juliet E. McKenna joins previous honourees such as Peter and Nicky Crowther in 2012, Iain Banks in 2013 and Farah Mendlesohn in 2014.
All in all, a very pleasing year—wouldn’t you agree?
Niall Alexander is an extra-curricular English teacher who reads and writes about all things weird and wonderful for The Speculative Scotsman, Strange Horizons, and Tor.com. He lives with about a bazillion books, his better half and a certain sleekit wee beastie in the central belt of bonnie Scotland.