In the wake of Swancon 2008, the Australian National SF Convention, Bruce Gillespie writes, “You might be interested that I won at the weekend Australia‘s other ‘Lifetime Achievement Award’ (that is, other than the A. Bertram Chandler Award, which is usually for people who were part of Australian SF before the 1980s). It’s the Peter McNamara Award, named in honour of publisher, entrepreneur (the Aurealis Awards) and general good person Peter McNamara, who died of a brain tumour only a year after John Foyster. I haven’t actually seen a copy of whatever was said at the weekend, but here’s the message I prepared in advance to answer it:
“Robin Johnson accepted the Big Heart Award in Japan last year, he said that he was ‘gobsmacked’ to win, and nobody understood the word. If I say I’m gobsmacked at receiving the Peter MacNamara Award this year, you’ll know what I mean. And even that’s an understatement. Not only am I honoured to receive an award in the name of Mac, the most congenial, hardworking bloke in Australian SF in the last 25 years, but I’m very much honoured by the distinguished company I’m now keeping. Thanks very much to this year’s judging panel, and everybody in the Australian SF community.
“I’ve rarely made any money out of my interest in SF and publishing, but I can claim to have been around a long time. I published my first magazine at school at the age of 14, before I had heard of fandom. When in 1963 I heard about these little magazines called fanzines, in which I could publish whatever I wanted, I knew that was what I wanted to do for the rest of my life. My thanks to all the people who have helped me since January 1969, when SF Commentary first appeared. Thanks to John Bangsund, Lee Harding, John Foyster and George Turner, my original mentors, the many people who have contributed reviews, articles and letters since then, and in recent years, the amazing people, such as Thomas Bull and David Lake, who have kept alive my magazines through their financial contributions. Thanks also to my international co-editors of Steam Engine Time, Paul Kincaid and Maureen Kincaid Speller for the first few issues, and Jan Stinson recently. Thanks also to Carey Handfield and Rob Gerrand, my partners in Norstrilia Press, which blazed the trail from 1975 to 1985 for Aphelion Books and the many small-scale publishers that came after. And thanks most of all to Elaine, my wife, who has put up with all this publishing for the last thirty years.”