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.

Thanks

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.