Gollancz and Ben Aaronovitch have announced the first, second, and runners up places for the inaugural Gollancz and Rivers of London BAME SFF Award:
- The Principles of Moments by Esmie Jikiemi-Pearson
- The Reeves’ Guild by Kyla Jardine
- Blood of the Wolf by Jaya Martin
- Kali’s Call by Dolly Garland
- Nowhere more Changeable than the Mortal Heart by Ewan Ma
- Seeds of Heaven by Victor Organa
- The Scent of Cloves by Dan Buchanan
- The Shape of the World by Amy Borg
The Gollancz And Rivers Of London BAME SFF Award was launched in October 2019 when Gollancz teamed up with author Ben Aaronovitch, who founded and funded the award to champion under-represented voices in science fiction, fantasy and horror. Statistics showed less than 1% of the genres’ books come from British BAME authors. (BAME is used in the UK to refer to black, Asian and minority ethnic people.)
The shortlist of eight was chosen from 220 overall entries and judged by actress Adjoa Andoh, New York Times bestselling author Dhonielle Clayton, founder of Illumicrate subscription box Daphne Tonge, Gollancz’s senior commissioning editor Rachel Winterbottom and Abi Fellows, literary agent at The Good Agency.
Ben Aaronovitch said, “I have been truly staggered by the range and quality of all the submissions. Choosing a shortlist was not easy and I’m looking forward to what happens to the winners and runners up alike. This was never planned as one off and are already laying plans for 2021.”
Nielsen’s results for science fiction and fantasy published in 2019 show almost double the amount of BAME British authors published in this genre but as the numbers were so small to start with, this only increases the authors represented from five to nine. These include authors such as: Tade Thompson, whose book Rosewater won 2019’s Clarke Award; physicist and broadcaster Jim Al-Khalili with Sunfall, his first foray into sci-fi; and the second book from Zen Cho, who has won both the British Fantasy Award and a Hugo Award. Even with this increase, BAME authors are still less than 3% of British authors published in sci-fi and fantasy, lagging far behind the representation of authors of colour in the American market.
[Since the first of the year File 770 has sent six emails to Gollancz points of contact pursuing news of this award announcement, which unfortunately did not succeed in getting us on the distribution list. Via Locus Online.]