My acceptance speech for the 2016 British Fantasy Award for Best Novella

Earlier today, I went hiking with my brother-in-law at Camden State Park in Maine. We did about 12 miles of fairly steep trails and returned exhausted to discover my novella “The Pauper Prince and the Eucalyptus Jinn” had won the 2016 British Fantasy Award for Best Novella. 

Exciting stuff, yes, but I’m doubly glad a work of speculative fiction that explores Indian subcontinental folklore and Islamic metaphysics will hopefully now enjoy a broader readership. We simply don’t have enough of such stories (obviously issues of representation come into play here as well) and it is nice to know “Pauper Prince”–a novella I worked on for nearly 2 years — will make a bit of a difference.

The following is the acceptance speech which my friend and brilliant writer Vince Haig (Malcolm Devlin) delivered on my behalf at FantasyCon 2016 in Scarborough, England. He omitted the para pertaining to himself; I’ve taken the liberty of publishing the speech in its entirety here:

“I’m honored, thrilled, and a bit shocked to be here today. Thank you, all of you lovely people who made this happen. Thank you, Vince, for agreeing to say these words on my behalf. Someday, I hope I will have the chance to return the favor.
I don’t know very many people on your side of the pond. Those I do are wonderful, wonderful folk who were/are either literary heroes of mine whom I’ve worshipped since I was ten (Ramsey Campbell and Clive Barker top that list) or kind strangers who, since we discovered each other’s work, have become my friends. They are thus my siblings in ink and that is a kind of magic too.
I believe the world has been getting better for a long time and I believe it is the quiet moderate rather than the vocal extremist on any side who has a superior chance at bettering it still. Be it issues like the bust of Lovecraft, the intensely melodramatic and ultimately fruitless Puppy movement, or the coming together of artists from over the world against inequity in all its inglorious forms–dialogue, empathy, and, most important, humility remain our most wondrous tools.
I hope we will all keep listening, vigorously debating, and crusading in love. Everything else is easy, so comfortable. These are not times for comfort. Frankly, they never were for us.
We are not the House of Lords, after all.
Thank you!”



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