2016 Gemmell Awards for Fantasy presented

Audience taking their places for the Gemmell Awards (courtesy Philip James Lunt)
Audience taking their places for the Gemmell Awards (picture Philip James Lunt)

Last Saturday 24th September saw the eighth presentation of the David Gemmell Awards for Fantasy at 8pm before a packed audience in the picturesque location of the Royal Ballroom at the Royal Hotel, Scarborough.

The awards, which are presented in memory of legendary British fantasy author, the late David Gemmell (1948-2006), and which this year also mark the tenth anniversary of his untimely passing, took place as part of the programme of the forty-first Fantasycon, one of the longest-running and most popular UK conventions.

The Awards

The David Gemmell Awards include:

The Ravenheart Award, named for one of David Gemmell’s novels, given to the artist/s responsible for the year’s best fantasy book cover art, as chosen by open vote.  The trophy is created annually by artist Lee Blair and was first presented in 2014.

The Ravenheart Award, created by Lee Blair
The Ravenheart Award, created by Lee Blair

The Morningstar Award, taking its name from one of David Gemmell’s bestselling novels, which honours the author judged, by open vote, to have made the year’s best debut in fantasy fiction.  The Morningstar trophy is also specially made by Lee Blair.

The Morningstar Award, created by Lee Blair
The Morningstar Award, created by Lee Blair

The Legend Award, named after David Gemmell’s first and most popular novel, presented to the fantasy title judged the year’s best by open vote. The trophy is a scale model of Snaga, the axe wielded by Gemmell’s iconic hero Druss, and is created specially each year by Simon Fearnhamm of Raven Armoury.

The Legend Award, created by Simon Fearnhamm
The Legend Award, created by Simon Fearnhamm

Public voting on the award longlist this year took place between Friday 13th May and Friday  24th June, and on the shortlist between Friday 8th July and Friday 19th August.

The programme book for this year’s Gemmell Awards was edited and designed by author and artist Anne Nicholls.

The programme book for the 2016 Gemmell Awards
The programme book for the 2016 Gemmell Awards
The Presenters and Guests
Chair and co-Treasurer of the Gemmell Awards author Stan Nicholls (left) and Phil Lunt (picture Peter Coleborn)
Chair and co-Treasurer of the Gemmell Awards author Stan Nicholls (left) and Phil Lunt (picture Peter Coleborn)

This year’s guest presenters included Phil Lunt, who opened with a flawless, pitch-perfect reading from ‘Legend’ and Ian Whates of Newcon Press, which has been so significant in helping to financially support the awards, who tantalised the audience with the possibility of a third ‘Legends’ anthology.

Andy Remic, presenting the Ravenheart Award, had everyone in stitches recounting how he corresponded with and subsequently met David Gemmell. Scott Lynch, the Morningstar Award presenter, spoke eloquently about the importance of supporting new writers; and Frances Hardinge, revealing the Legend Award winner, rounded-off the presenters’ speeches powerfully and succinctly.

Programme Book Editor/Awards Co-Treasurer author and artist Anne Nicholls presenting (picture Peter Coleborn)
Programme Book Editor/Awards Co-Treasurer author and artist Anne Nicholls presenting (picture Peter Coleborn)

Also in attendance were David Gemmell’s daughter Kate Armstrong-Gemmell and her family, along with Tiffany Lau, daughter of the Gemmell Awards’ principal founder, the sorely missed Deborah Miller. It was also the organisers’ pleasure to welcome Lee Blair, the artist who creates the unique Ravenheart and Morningstar trophies.

The Award-winners

The 2016 winners of this popular and prestigious series of literary awards are:

Ravenheart Award  Jason Chan for the cover of The Liar’s Key by Mark Lawrence. This award was accepted by Harper Collins editor Natasha Bardon, on behalf of Mr Chan.

Andy Remic presenting the Ravenheart Award (picture Peter Coleborn)
Andy Remic presenting the Ravenheart Award (picture Peter Coleborn)
Harper Collins editor Natasha Bardon accepting the Ravenheart Award on behalf of Jason Chan (picture Peter Coleborn).
Harper Collins editor Natasha Bardon accepting the Ravenheart Award on behalf of Jason Chan (picture Peter Coleborn).

Morningstar Award  The Vagrant by Peter Newman, who was on hand to accept his award in person.

Peter Newman (left) accepting the Morningstar Award from Scott Lynch (picture Peter Coleborn)
Peter Newman (left) accepting the Morningstar Award from Scott Lynch (picture Peter Coleborn)

Legend Award  The Liar’s Key by Mark Lawrence, whose award was also warmly-received on his behalf by Natasha Bardon of Harper Collins.

Natasha Bardon (left) and Frances Hardinge tussle over Snaga, the Legend Award trophy (picture Peter Coleborn).
Natasha Bardon (left) and Frances Hardinge tussle over Snaga, the Legend Award trophy (picture Peter Coleborn).
Mark Lawrence's agent Ian Drury speaking after Mark's Legend Award win (picture Peter Coleborn)
Mark Lawrence’s agent Ian Drury speaking after Mark’s Legend Award win (picture Peter Coleborn)

This makes this year’s awards a clean sweep for publishers Harper Collins.


The organisers of the David Gemmell Awards would like to thank a number of people who willingly give their time so that the Gemmell Awards can take place. They particularly want to thank Rachel Oakes for tech support, Jannie Vd Boogaard De Schrijverin for stewardship, and Sky Campbell, who fulfils the vital role of awards webmaster.

Thanks are also due to Alex Davis, Del Lakin-Smith and the entire Fantasycon committee, not forgetting the tireless red coat volunteers; Luke Gemmell, Dominic Harman, the awards’ media partner SFX magazine, all the publishers, and the event’s official photographer Peter Coleborn.

House On The Borderland would also like to credit and thank Peter Coleborn for the use of his event photographs in this feature, as well as British Fantasy Society Chair Philip James Lunt and the organisers of the awards, in particular Stan Nicholls, for permission to use these and other images and information produced by and for the Gemmell Awards.

Tolkien Weekend in Newcastle this weekend

Tolkien Weekend Newcastle

Fans of the legendary fantasy works of J.R.R. Tolkien could easily be forgiven for thinking that this year’s season for elves and orcs behaving badly ended earlier this month, with the ever-popular Middle Earth Festival (originally the Tolkien Weekend) taking place at and around Sarehole Mill in Hall Green, Birmingham, a place which inspired the writer and academic from the days of his youth.

But if you look a little further north this weekend,  you will find some competition for the longer-established event going on in Newcastle-upon-Tyne, where they are holding their own Tolkien Weekend 2016  on Saturday, 24th and Sunday, 25th September , with a programme of events coordinated by Time and Tide Events of Tyne & Wear.

For this alternate Tolkien Weekend, the venue is Newcastle Castle, and admission is, like the unconnected Birmingham event, free of charge, in this case with stalls and entertainment being located inside the Castle Keep and Black Gate.

A Tolkien fringe

Fringe events include an art exhibition, ‘Illuminating Tolkien’, at St Nicholas Cathedral (20th-25th September, with a preview evening on Friday 19th), and a Beowulf Evening at The Bridge Hotel (24th September, 7pm), featuring a performance of the famous Old English poem.

Guest of honour Royd Tolkien will be talking about his great-grandfather’s legacy at a Q&A session at 3pm on Saturday 24th.

Newcastle’s second event

This is the second annual weekend in Newcastle celebrating the works of J.R.R. Tolkien – the Castle being the meeting place of regional Tolkien Society group or smial  Arnor – aka The Fellowship of the North.

For more information, and to book tickets for any of these events, see www.newcastlecastle.co.uk and also via the following direct link: Newcastle Tolkien Weekend.

Gemmell Awards 2016 all set for FantasyCon


The David Gemmell Awards For Fantasy enter their eighth year in 2016, once again recognising and rewarding the very best in fantasy fiction and artwork. 2016 also marks the tenth anniversary of the untimely death of bestselling author David Gemmell, in whose memory the awards were created.

2016’s Gemmell Awards presentation will take place at FantasyCon, the UK’s longest-running fantasy fiction convention. This year, FantasyCon will be held in Scarborough between 23rd and 25th September, with the Gemmell Awards ceremony staged at 8pm on Saturday 24th September.

The David Gemmell Awards For Fantasy embrace three categories. The Legend Award honours the best fantasy novel, the Morningstar Award the best debut and the Ravenheart Award the best fantasy cover art. The awards are determined by an open vote and 2015 saw a record total of 36,759 votes cast.


Fantasycon 2016 logo

FantasyCon is the British Fantasy Society’s annual conference and has been part of the UK scene since its inception in 1972. Past guests include Joan Aiken, Clive Barker, Terry Brooks, Ramsey Campbell, Raymond E Feist, Jasper Fforde, Joanne Fletcher, James Herbert, Robert Holdstock, Tom Holt, Sarah Pinborough, Graham Joyce, Tanith Lee, Anne McCaffrey, George RR Martin, Michael Marshall Smith and Tad Williams.

This years Guests of Honour are leading US author Scott Lynch, Costa Book Award winner Frances Hardinge and leading British horror author Adam Nevill, with more to be announced in due course.

Stan Nicholls
Stan Nicholls

Stan Nicholls, Chair for the Gemmell Awards, said: “FantasyCon is a popular and much-loved highlight in the speculative fiction community’s calendar, and a perfect fit for the Gemmell Awards. We look forward to contributing to the UK’s premier fantasy event.”

James Barclay, President of the British Fantasy Society says: “The BFS is delighted to be hosting the Gemmell Awards at FantasyCon 2016. It’s always a special occasion, and one that’s very close to my heart.”

Alex Davis, the Chair for FantasyCon By The Sea (2016), said: “Over the last eight years the Gemmell Awards have become one of the most popular and respected prizes in the field, and it is a hugely exciting addition to our programme and a genuine honour to be hosting this prestigious event at FantasyCon.”

The Gemmell Awards official website can be found at www.gemmellawards.com and its Facebook page iswww.facebook.com/gemmellawards. For more information, please contact stannicholls@hotmail.com

The British Fantasy Society can be found at www.britishfantasysociety.org and its Facebook page is www.facebook.com/britishfantasysociety/ plus www.facebook.com/groups/794498883993725

For more information about the BFS, contact Helen Armfield – pr@britishfantasysociety.org

Military SF writer PP Corcoran docks at Tickety Boo Press

Paul P Corcoran
Paul P Corcoran

Northumberland-based publishers Tickety Boo Press have announced the signing of military science fiction-writer and British Army veteran Paul P Corcoran, author of the Amazon best-selling ‘Saiph’ novels.


Paul is coming aboard as Editor of Tickety Boo’s Space Dock imprint, which is dedicated to finding and publishing new and established authors writing Space Opera, Military SF, Post-Apocalyptic, Time Travel and ‘Alien Worlds’ tales. Paul is, say the publishers, “…perfectly situated to bring exciting, hard-hitting, character-driven novels to a constantly growing market.”

The Scotsman joined the British Army in 1985 and went on to join their elite parachute force, 5 Airborne Brigade, spending four years there until moving on to various intelligence and signals units for the remainder of his twenty-two year’s service. After serving in many areas of operations including: Africa, the Balkans, Central America, Northern Ireland, the Middle East and South East Asia, Paul returned to  civvy street but continues to work in the security field in a private capacity.

Tickety Boo Press (TBP) said “Paul Corcoran is ideally suited to running Space Dock­ – not only has he served in the military in various roles, including security and intelligence, but his knowledge of the military and his love of Science Fiction have already combined into becoming a full-time career as a writer of action-packed SF.”

Dave de Burgh, Acquiring Editor for Tickety Boo Press, went on, “Paul brings a wealth of expertise and experience to Tickety Boo Press, and I’m looking forward to revealing all the wonderful authors he’ll discover.”

Gary Compton, Managing Director of TBP, said, “I think when you are a fan of someone as a writer and a person, to then work with them is amazing. With Paul’s contacts and fans, I have no doubt he will be a great asset to Tickety Boo Press Ltd.”

Paul had the following to say regarding his appointment to Editor for the Space Dock Imprint:

“I’m really excited about the prospect of finding new up and coming talent and, with the help of the team at Tickety Boo Press, introducing their work to a worldwide audience.”

The Space Dock Imprint is currently open to submissions, see here.

For more information about Tickety Boo Press, check out their website: http://ticketyboopress.co.uk

For more about Paul Corcoran, see: http://www.ppcorcoran.com

Alchemy Press latest to launch at FantasyCon

Hot off The Alchemy Press!
Hot off The Alchemy Press!

Saturday 24 September 2016 will see the launch of  two new titles from The Alchemy Press: The Private Life of Elder Things and Something Remains. The launch takes place at 12 noon, during the Saturday programme at FantasyCon, which this year takes place ‘by the sea’ in Scarborough. Besides these two titles, say the publishers, there will be wine and, all being well, “…some other freebies”.

The Private Life of Elder Things is a collection of related tales “…from the expert hands and mercurial minds of Adrian Tchaikovsky, Adam Gauntlett and Keris McDonald”.

From the wastes of the sea to the shadows of our own cities, we are not alone. But what happens where the human world touches the domain of races ancient and alien? Museum curators, surveyors, police officers, archaeologists, mathematicians; from derelict buildings to country houses to the London Underground, another world is just a breath away, around the corner, watching and waiting for you to step into its power. The Private Life of Elder Things is a collection of new Lovecraftian fiction about confronting, discovering and living alongside the creatures of the Mythos.

Adrian Tchaikovsky and Keris McDonald will be on hand during the launch to autograph books.  Adam Gauntlett is sadly unable to attend, being “…stuck far away in Bermuda, which just on this occasion isn’t as fun as Scarborough”, say the publishers.

Something Remains, edited by Peter Coleborn and Pauline E Dungate, collects over 30 stories based on and inspired by the notes left behind after respected and popular author Joel Lane’s sad and sudden death in 2013. The 400+ page book also includes verse and essays about the sorely missed man.

The premise of Something Remains is this: friends and colleagues of Joel selected story ideas from the wealth of notes he left. The stories are not intended to be slavish pastiches, but tales inspired by Joel’s fertile imagination.

Among the contributors expected to be attending the launch are Tim Lebbon, Simon Bestwick, Lynda E Rucker, John Llewellyn Probert, Gary McMahon, Thana Niveau and Alison Littlewood, as well as Ramsey Campbell who penned an Afterword.

The Alchemy Press dealer’s table at FantasyCon will also stock the recently published The Complete Weird Epistles of Penelope Pettiweather, Ghost Hunter by Jessica Amanda Salmonson as well as the publisher’s back catalogue.

The Complete Weird Epistles of Penelope Pettiweather, Ghost Hunter comprises fourteen stories — or epistles, rather — detailing Penelope’s quest to understand the nature of ghosts. Full of the rich history and landscape of Salmonson’s northwest USA, these quiet tales will “…appeal to the fan of the traditional ghost story”.

The Alchemy Press is an award-winning small press publisher located in Cheadle, Staffordshire, and is headed by publisher and editor-in-chief Peter Coleborn and co-publisher and editor Jan Edwards.

Check out www.alchemypress,co.uk for the full run down of Alchemy Press titles.


Information and images courtesy The Alchemy Press


Gollancz Festival returns

Gollancz Festival 2016 logo

The Gollancz Festival is back, and is almost upon us (in fact, the online version has already begun!).  This year, the oldest specialist SF & Fantasy publisher in the UK  (now the science fiction and fantasy imprint of the Orion Publishing Group) is working with Foyles bookshop in Charing Cross Road, London to bring readers two days of events.  There is also an online event programme – see below.

The publisher has three different bookshop panel events running from 17th-18th September at Foyles. These events are planned to be three hours long and cost £15 each to attend. Prospective attendees can discover more about participating authors, panel events and times on the Foyles website.

Readers party

Gollancz are also holding a party for readers and authors on the 17th September, including a brief talk from three major fantasy authors as well as a chance to meet and talk to some of your favourite authors. Ticket price for the Gollancz Festival party will be £15 and will include two drinks and nibbles. You can find out more and buy your tickets via this link.

Writer’s day

This year Gollancz are also presenting an entire day dedicated to writers, teaming up with Foyles and The Phoenix Artist Club to offer a special day of workshops, intimate author panels and agent advice.

The Gollancz Festival for Writers will run over two three-hour sessions on the 17th September. Space is very limited. Tickets cost £25 per session. You can find out more and buy your tickets via this link.

Gollancz Festival online

For those unable to attend the bookshop events in London, there is also an online Gollancz Festival with digital events running from the 12th-16th September. This year Gollancz are working with Hachette Australia and New Zealand to organise exciting online events in the week leading up to the bookshop programme at Foyles and the Phoenix Artist Club. For updates on digital events please register your interest at GollanczFest.co.uk.

Direct link

Pick up on digital happenings via the Gollancz or Orion Twitter feeds or follow the hashtag #GollanczFest

In addition, check out the Gollancz Facebook page.

The Gollancz Festival is brought to you in conjunction with Foyles, Future PLC, the publisher of SFX magazine and the websites GamesRadar+, PictureHouse Central and The Arthur C. Clarke Award.