The Premio Vegetti proves juried awards aren’t always what they’re cracked up to be.
On August 26, World SF Italia, Italy’s professional association for sff writers and a vestige of the World SF organization once led by Harry Harrison and others, announced the winner of its counterpart to the Nebula, the Premio Vegetti, at a gala dinner in San Marino. The ceremony went ahead although one of the jurors admitted he did not read two of the five finalists.
The finalists in alphabetical order were:
- Angeli di plastica di Emanuela Valentini (Delos Digital, 2016)
- Eden di Maurizio J. Bruno (Tabula Fati, 2016)
- L’impero restaurato di Sandro Battisti (Mondadori, 2015)
- Lungo la notte di Fabio F. Centamore (Delos Digital, 2016)
- Ritorno a Frisland di Enrico Di Stefano (Della Vigna, 2015)
The finalists are chosen by the members of World SF Italia, and then a jury chooses the winner.
In the SF novel category the members of the jury were:
- President of the jury: Matteo Vegetti.
- Jury: Anna Maria Bonavoglia, Adalberto Cersosimo, Andrea Vaccaro
Italian writers have learned that Adalberto Cersosimo never received the two novels published by Delos, and had, therefore, not voted for them. While he might have brought this to the attention to the president of the jury, or the publisher, he simply decided not to vote for those two books.
Those trying to find out what happened discovered publisher Delos sent Cersosimo’s copies of the PDF files to an out-of-date email address. However, the award finalists were announced in January, and Cersosimo could have asked after the Delos books any time in the months that followed.
World SF Italia president Donato Altomare was informed of the situation and gave out the award anyway. The winner was:
- L’impero restaurato di Sandro Battisti (Mondadori, 2015)
Whatever happened to the rest of World SF? Fred Pohl was so enthusiastic about it.
I just re-read a con report I wrote back in 1997, and back then it was languishing for lack of funds. Apparently it had been important to keep Fannish ties through the Iron Curtain, but when that came down it wasn’t needed as much. I’m quoting what young uniformed me was told at the time; I don’t even remember who said that.
Do I understand right it is a prize named after its chairman?!? Where can I learn more about its setup? (With Google Translate, I can manage Italian.)
And do you know what the voting system is? Hugo-like STV, giving points, …? (Not that it mattered too much.)
As for the World SF, I can just second the above sigh: In Czechia in 1990, there was an attempt to found called a pro association called Syndikát autor? fantastiky which, I think, ended up registered as World SF Czech Section (at that time, there were still some ideas of détente internationalist syndicalism that somebody else will pay for). It was dormant for a long time and now it merely lends legal personhood to “Academy of Science Fiction, Fantasy and Horror”, which also styles itself as a Nebula equivalent: couple dozen Middling Name Fans and pros who can still be bothered (mostly spurred by their conflict of interest) giving annual awards in many categories. (You don’t want to see the flamewars it generates each and every year: wrong people vote completely wrong way, and anyway it must all be Manipulated From Behind by sinister forces of people with whom the loud flamer has fallen out years ago over some fannish trifle.)
Oh, I’ve been advised elsewhere that it is named after Vegetti father (1943 – 2010). Still, it seems to me that in general it is better for descendants to present the awards, not chair them.
This report is incomplete, it’s a partial version of what happened. There some lack of information.
On August 28th, the World SF Italia’s president, Donato Altomare, remind the finalist that started the jury controversy what is stated in the article number 8 of the Vegetti Prize’s Regulation: “Authors will have to send their works to the Jury’s members within 15 days from the publication of the Rose of Finalist Works and the names of the Jurors, otherwise they will be subject to the exclusion from the final stage.”
All finalists had to send their works to the jurors within 15 days from the announcement of the finalists.
The finalists’ names were announced eight months ago.
Donato Altomare immediately communicated the e-mail addresses of the jurors to Emanuela Valentini, so she could send them her work if she was interested in participating in the Vegetti Prize’s final stage. It seems that she didn’t send her work to the jurors by herself. It has been her publisher to do it. Tragically, her publisher, Delos, sent her work and the other finalist’s work to the out-of-date Adalberto Cersosimo’s e-mail address. As we all know, Adalberto Cersosimo did not receive Delos authors’ works. Although Adalberto Cersosimo had a Facebook account, Delos publisher didn’t seem to have asked him if he had received Delos works.
The Vegetti Prize’s regulation said that all works which have not been received by jurors within 15 days after the announcement of the finalists are considered excluded from the final stage.
So, this controvery is not Cersosimo’s fault. Emanuela Valentini didn’t send personally the work to the jurors, but she let her publisher to do it for her. Delos publisher sent the work to Adalberto Cersosimo’s out-of-date e-mail address and he never checked if that e-mail address was active nor asked Adalberto Cersosimo if he had received the work.
Apparently the juror Cersosimo applied the Vegetti Prize’s regulation. He considered the missing works excluded from the prize and didn’t vote for any of them. It was not his duty to check the authors or their publisher had sent the works to him. It was the finalist’s duty, but none of Delos’s authors checked anything.
On her Facebook Emanuela Valentini has repeatedly said she didn’t care about the Vegetti Prize, she had not asked to be finalist in that prize. If it’s true, her recrimination after eight months makes no sense. On the other hand if she was interested in participating in the prize, as it seems, she didn’t read the regulation (article 8) or she didn’t read carefully, otherwise she would have known that she had only 15 days to send her work to the jurors by herself and to check they had received.
Only 15 days, not eight months.
President Donato Altomare make clear this to her and there are no words for commenting her reply.
Adalberto Cersosimo was the award juror. He knew he hadn’t received 40% of the finalists. It was his responsibility, if he wanted to do a fair job as juror, to tell somebody, “Hey, I haven’t received these two books from Delos.” Easy to do.
Not only that, but how did his failure to do his job become public? He told someone, as if he had a kind of perverse pride in having failed to be fair.