Robert Sawyer will receive a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Canadian Science Fiction and Fantasy Association (CSFFA) on October 6. It will be the first time in 30 years that the organization has given an author this honor.
Previous lifetime achievement Aurora winners were A.E. van Vogt in 1980, Phyllis Gotlieb in 1982, and Judith Merril in 1983. At 53, Sawyer is the youngest author ever to receive a lifetime-achievement Aurora.
The award will be given at the 2013 Prix Aurora Awards breakfast banquet during the Canadian National SF Convention in Ottawa.
Sawyer is one of only eight writers, and the only Canadian, to win all three of the top awards for the year’s best SF novel, a Hugo Award in 2003 for Hominids, a Nebula Award in 1996 for The Terminal Experiment, and The John W. Campbell Memorial Award in 2006 for Mindscan.
He’s also won 13 Prix Aurora Awards, given by CSFFA – 7 for best novel, 5 for best short story, and 1 for best related book.
Sawyer is being honoured not just for his writing but also his decades of support for other writers. David G. Hartwell, senior editor at Tor Books in New York, was quoted in Publishers Weekly as saying, “Sawyer is very generous to young writers.”
And in naming Sawyer one of the “thirty most influential, innovative, and just plain powerful people in Canadian publishing” (one of only three authors to make the list), the publishing trade journal Quill & Quire called him “a generous mentor to other writers.”
In 2009, The Ottawa Citizen observed, “It seems like everywhere I go, people are talking about what an incredible friend Sawyer is to young SF writers, how much he gives back to the community.”
Update 09/23/2013: Clifford Samuels, Aurora Awards Administrator, writes to clarify that while Sawyer is the first author to receive a Lifetime Achievement Aurora since 1983, Dennis Mullin was given one in 2008 for “his 20-plus years of working on the Auroras.”
Actually, it’s even a bit more complicated than that.
In addition to presenting the Lifetime Achievement Aurora Awards to four different authors now (A.E. van Vogt, Phyllis Gotlieb, Judith Merril, and myself), Lifetime Achievement Aurora Awards have twice also gone to fans.
Hugo Award-winning fanzine writer and editor Susan Wood received one posthumously in 1981; she had passed away the previous year at age 32.
And, as Cliff noted, upon fan Dennis Mullin’s retirement from administering the Aurora Awards, Dennis was given a Lifetime Achievement Award in 2008. At the 2007 annual general meeting of the Canadian Science Fiction and Fantasy Association, I myself made the motion that Dennis be given this award and I had the privilege of presenting the award to Dennis at Keycon 25 in Winnipeg, the 2008 Canadian National Science Fiction Convention.
Also, Judith Merril twice received Lifetime Achievement Aurora Awards. The first time, in 1982, was for her “lifetime contributions to the field” (including her work as an author); the second, in 1986, was presented to her not as an author but as an editor (“lifetime achievement in editing”); Judy was a very influential anthologist.
I’m very proud to join a list of winners that includes Dennis and Susan along with three of my writing heroes.