David Hartwell announced at the World Fantasy Award ceremony on November 8 that this will be the last year that the award trophy will be in the form of the traditional — and controversial — H.P. Lovecraft bust designed by Gahan Wilson.
— Ellen Kushner of Oz (@EllenKushner) November 8, 2015
Last year Daniel Jose Older collected over 2,500 signatures on a petition calling for the replacement of “avowed racist and a terrible wordsmith” H.P. Lovecraft on the World Fantasy Award.
The Guardian reported last September that the “board of the World Fantasy awards has said that it is ‘in discussion’ about its winners’ statuette”.
When Sofia Samatar won in 2014, she made a statement about the controversy in her acceptance speech, which she later expanded into a blog post —
- The Elephant in the Room I think I used those words. I think I said “I can’t sit down without addressing the elephant in the room, which is the controversy surrounding the image that represents this award.” I said it was awkward to accept the award as a writer of color. (See this post by Nnedi Okorafor, the 2011 winner, if you are confused about why.) I also thanked the board for taking the issue seriously, because at the beginning of the ceremony, Gordon van Gelder stood up and made an announcement to that effect: “The board is taking the issue very seriously, but there is no decision yet.” I just wanted them to know that here I was in a terribly awkward position, unable to be 100% thrilled, as I should be, by winning this award, and that many other people would feel the same, and so they were right to think about changing it.
In May, File 770 reached out to the WFC Board about the status of the Lovecraft image but received no acknowledgement.