Thursday, January 10, 2008

IntoPittsburgh: Creative Youngstown

Moving along with my nefarious plan to seduce Youngstown away from the clutches of an unappreciative Cleveland, please note the positive outcome of Chris Barzak World Domination Day:

Crawford Award Winner, Shortlist Announced

The winner of the 2008 Crawford Fantasy Award is Christopher Barzak, for his first novel One for Sorrow (Bantam). The award, sponsored by the International Association for the Fantastic in the Arts, recognizes an outstanding first book of fantasy published during the preceding year, and will be presented March 22 at the association’s annual conference in Orlando, Florida.

In a departure from past years, the Association has simultaneously released the winner along with the shortlist for the award. Other titles on this year’s shortlist are Laird Barron, The Imago Sequence (Night Shade); Ron Currie, Jr., God is Dead (Viking); Ellen Klages, Portable Childhoods (Tachyon); and Ysabeau Wilce, Flora Segunda (Harcourt). Ekaterina Sedia’s The Secret History of Moscow, praised by a number of the award nominators, was ineligible for the shortlist because of an earlier fantasy novel published by Sedia in 2005.

Instead of a formal committee structure, the Crawford Award is determined by a panel of nominators, who review and discuss each other’s nominations. This year’s panel included John Clute, Kelly Link, Farah Mendlesohn, Cheryl Morgan, and Graham Sleight. The award is administered by Gary K. Wolfe of the IAFA Board.

The Crawford Award was established in 1985 through a grant from Andre Norton in memory of early fantasy small-press publisher William L. Crawford, who had died the preceding year. Past winners have included Charles de Lint, Susan Palwick, Greer Gilman, Jonathan Lethem, Candas Jane Dorsey, Alexander Irvine, Steph Swainston, and Joe Hill. Last year’s winner was M. Rickert.

Perhaps citing the success of our "blogathon" is stretching the truth, but I do think the people who support Youngstown's creative endeavors deserve kudos for their efforts. Of course, congratulations are in order for Mr. Barzak. What is good for Youngstown is indeed good for Pittsburgh.

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