Chris M. Barkley’s 2023 Best Fan Writer Acceptance Speech

Chris M. Barkley

[Introduction: Congratulations to Chris Barkley for winning the Best Fan Writer Hugo at the Chengdu Worldcon! He provided File 770 with the text of his acceptance remarks to be published if he had the good fortune to win.]

Chengdu Worldcon Special:  My 2023 Best Fan Writer Acceptance Speech

By Chris M. Barkley: Thank You, everyone. Thank you to the voters who have gifted me with this award and a special thanks to the Chengdu Science Fiction Society and the Chengdu Worldcon Committee who made it possible for me to be here tonight to accept this magnificent and amazing piece of hardware. 

I also note that I am the first person of color EVER to win a Hugo Award in this category. And I fervently ask everyone in the fannish community, please, please, PLEASE, do not let me be the last. Our world is vast and wide and there are many other voices to be heard and honored.

To my fellow nominees, Bitter, Jason, Arthur, RiverFlow and Orjan, I salute and share this award with you. I only hope that one day, each of you have the chance to feel what I am feeling at this moment; the feeling of validation, gratitude, happiness and spirit of community that comes with accepting this honor. To facilitate this, I hereby announce that I will no longer accept any future nominations in this category. 

(Everyone else in the other categories should watch out though because I’m coming for you NEXT!)

I would also like to thank some very special people in my life; my long suffering editor, Mike Glyer, my dear cousin Michael Howard, without whom I wouldn’t be standing here tonight, my late parents Erbil and Alice Barkley, my brothers and sisters especially Janice and Gwendolyn Ann,  my lovely and patient life partner Juli, our grandchildren, Lily, Atlas, Navia and Bowie, their parents, Laura, Charlie, Beth and Ben, my bookstore and bookselling friends everywhere, the folks who took me in 48 years ago, the members of the Cincinnati Fantasy Group and the very good friends who took that journey with me, Michaele and Roger.

In conclusion I want to leave you with these thoughts: I stand here this evening not as an American, but as a proud member of the worldwide community of fandom. 

We who are gathered here and those watching around the world, are more aware than probably anyone else that the world that this planet is in serious peril. We are very conscious that the human race is beset with an urgent set of crises, greed, income and social inequality, pestilence, racial prejudice, misinformation, fear and war. 

And how do we combat these seemingly overwhelming circumstances? We fight back. With art, culture, music, informed opinions, social action and literature.

What we have done here may seem frivolous to some. But we know better.  Because we know that the future is not some far off or unseen destination, it is happening today my friends and is built upon our daily thoughts, words and deeds.

We must be unrelenting in achieving this goal and this convention, being held here and now is proof that we are headed in the right direction.

To paraphrase a late and well known fan of genre literature: 

“Ask not what fandom can do for you, but what you can do for fandom.”

Thank You. Goodnight. Ad Astra. And Live Long and Prosper.

++ Chris B.

32 thoughts on “Chris M. Barkley’s 2023 Best Fan Writer Acceptance Speech

  1. I should have commented on this sooner. But I keep tearing up. Chris has gone so far in fandom — and he did it by being a loving friend to everyone he met. He has never lost or let fade those wonderful Star Trek ideals of what the world should be, and our place in it.

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