The International Fantasy Awards: II

-a follow-up article by -- e. j. carnell

Many thanks for your air letter of January 21st and the receipt today of YANDRO No. 120 containing the article on the International Fantasy Awardss, and I think that under the circumstances, you have presented a very creditable article from the information originally published in NEW WORLDS SCIENCE FICTION. There are a number of points, however, I would like to pass on to you for publication in the follow-up article.

I feel that the originators of the idea deserve additional credit in so far as John Wyndham, Frank Cooper, Ken Chapman and Leslie Flood founded and financed the scheme for the first three years without any outside financial help and the trophies themselves were quite expensive. It was only later, about 1954, when most of the leading publishers in this country were interested in the possibilities of the Award's value, that a number of them were asked to participate in any financial support. It should be pointed out, too, that at this stage some twenty-six London publishing firms formed themselves into a loosely knit organisation called The Science Fiction Luncheon Club, having at each monthly meeting a well-known science fiction personality as Guest of Honour.

By 1955, the Luncheon Club had expressed a keen interest to take over the handling of the International Fantasy Award and put it on a much higher level and it was mainly for this reason that no award was made in 1956 because of a waning interest in science fiction by many of the Club's members. In actual fact, Leslie Flood did produce on behalf of the Luncheon Club the 1957 Award to Professor Tolkein for his book "The Lord Of The Rings" and this last effort was largely financed by the remaining members of the Luncheon Club. Thereafter, in 1958, the Club was virtually dissolved, as interest in science fiction by its members reached zero.

You are quite right in your assumption that the 1951 Awards were judged by the originators of the scheme precisely for the reason you have given in your article -- lack of time to obtain sufficient international judges to produce a decision in time for the London Convention in May of that year. Thereafter, your list of judges is virtually correct, the 1953 adjudicators being the same as for 1952, and similarly, the 1955 panel being the same as for 1954.

The Certificate of Merit was a beautifully designed scroll on parchment but no facsimile of the original appears to exist in Leslie Flood's files, which are still intact and can be readily used again should the idea of the Awardss ever be reinstituted.

Tolkein, incidentally, protested quite strongly about receiving theaward in 1957 and was not at all keen to travel to London to receive it. He did appear,however, and seemed completely vague as to what the whole thing was about and was only too pleased to retreat to his college and apparently forget all about the occasion.

From 1952 onwards, the Fantasy Awards were presented at a private dinner held at night at which various prominent personalities were invited to attend and many people in radio and T.V., as well as publishers, who were particularly interested in science fiction, were in attendance.


Peter Pan came from Always Land. Never Never is a double negative.

...Martin Helgeson

Data Entry by Judy Bemis

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