Kindred Award-Winner’s Generous Act Moves Audience to Tears

CONTACT: Nisi Shawl, nisis[at]aol[dot]com, 206-720-1008


On May 28, at a ceremony attended by hundreds of readers, the Carl Brandon Society presented the first of its annual pair of $1000 literary prizes.

Nalo Hopkinson accepted the Parallax Award for Walter Mosley, who won for his young adult novel “47.” The Parallax is given in recognition of the year’s best work of fantasy, science fiction, magic realism, or horror by an author of color writing in English.

Susan R. Vaught, winner of the Kindred Award, accepted her award personally for her young adult novel “Stormwitch.” She then stunned the audience by signing over her entire $1000 award check to the Carl Brandon Society’s Octavia E. Butler Memorial Scholarship Fund. The Kindred is given in recognition of the year’s best work of fantasy, science fiction, magic realism, or horror exploring and expanding our understanding of race and ethnicity, written in English.

The award ceremony took place during WisCon, a feminist science fiction convention held for the past 30 years in Madison, Wisconsin, and birthplace of the Carl Brandon Society. Reading from a letter sent by Mosley when he learned he’d be unable to attend, Hopkinson said, “‘I really appreciate this award. Especially since it’s for 47 – which is a book that I care about, deeply.'”

Acknowledging her debt to Octavia E. Butler in the development of her own writing, Vaught announced, “It is with great pleasure that I sign this check back to the Carl Brandon Society for their Octavia E. Butler Memorial Scholarship Fund,” doing so with a flourish. Many audience members wept openly, taken unawares by this moving tribute to recently deceased black sf writer Butler. The Scholarship Fund, currently building towards an endowment of $100,000, will support writers of color attending the Clarion and Clarion West Writing Workshops. More information is available at <>.

Ian K. Hagemann, Parallax Award juror and Carl Brandon Society Treasurer, noted the jury’s difficulty in finding appropriate work, stating, “These awards wouldn’t be needed if such work were being published daily, or even monthly.” Other Parallax Award jurors include Ursula K. Le Guin, Jewelle Gomez, Debbie Notkin, and Cecilia Tan. Kindred Award juror and Carl Brandon Society Steering Committee MJ Hardman remarked that though the awards are open to all speculative fiction, the jury was pleasantly surprised that “many young adult novels were nominated, which gives us hope for bringing more young people into the genre.” Other Kindred Award jurors include Celu Amberstone, Steven Barnes, Karin Lowachee, and Jennifer Stephenson.

Recommended reading lists and more information on the awards are at <>. The Carl Brandon Society exists to further the representation of people of color in the fantastic literary genres. Nominations for the 2006 Parallax and Kindred Awards open shortly. Please go to <> to suggest titles and learn more about the Society’s work.