Filed under: Auroras, Awards, Milestones.
A press release from the Canadian Science Fiction and Fantasy Association:
For the first time in 30 years — and only the fourth time ever — the Canadian Science Fiction and Fantasy Association (CSFFA) is bestowing a Lifetime Achievement award on an author.
The award will be presented in Ottawa on Sunday, October 6, 2013, to Ottawa-born author Robert J. Sawyer. Sawyer is one of only eight writers in history — and the only Canadian — to win all three of the world’s top awards for best science-fiction novel of the year:
- The World Science Fiction Society’s Hugo Award, which Sawyer won in 2003 for his novel Hominids;
- The Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America’s Nebula Award, which he won in 1996 for his novel The Terminal Experiment;
- The John W. Campbell Memorial Award, given by the Gunn Center for the Study of Science Fiction at Kansas University, which he won in 2006 for Mindscan.
He’s also won more Prix Aurora Awards, given by CSFFA, than anyone else in history, with thirteen wins to date (seven for best novel, five for best short story, and one for best related book).
Sawyer’s other honours include winning Japan’s top SF award three times, Spain’s top SF award three times, France’s top SF award, the Toronto Public Library Celebrates Reading Award, the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal, an honorary doctorate from Laurentian University, the Alumni Award of Distinction from Ryerson University, Humanist Canada’s inaugural Humanism in the Arts Award, and an Arthur Ellis Award from the Crime Writers of Canada.
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.” And Manitoba author Craig Russell has said, “Robert J. Sawyer is one truly amazing gentleman — a mentor to the entire Canadian SF/F world.”
But Sawyer’s contributions were perhaps best summed up by TV personality Liana K, when she hosted the 2010 Prix Aurora Award ceremony, where many of Sawyer’s writing students and mentorees were on the ballot: “At the Oscars, the winners thank God. At the Auroras, they thank Robert J. Sawyer.”
Rob Sawyer was born in Ottawa in 1960. He has taught science-fiction writing at the University of Toronto, Ryerson University, Humber College, and the Banff Centre. And he has been writer in residence at Berton House in Dawson City; the Toronto Public Library’s Merril Collection of Science Fiction, Speculation and Fantasy; the Richmond Hill Public Library; the Kitchener Public Library; and the Canadian Light Source, Canada’s national synchrotron facility, a position created especially for him.
His latest novel — his 22nd — is Red Planet Blues, published by Penguin Canada; the book reached #3 on the Maclean’s bestsellers’ list, and the mass-market edition of his previous title, Triggers, which is a current nominee for the best-novel Aurora, recently hit #1 on the bestsellers’ list of the US trade journal Locus. The 2009 ABC TV series FlashForward was based on his novel of the same name.
The Prix Aurora Awards were founded in 1980. Authors previously awarded lifetime achievement Auroras, now all deceased, are 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 bestowed as part of the 2013 Prix Aurora Awards breakfast banquet Sunday, October 6, at the Minto Suites, Ottawa, during Can-Con 2013, this year’s Canadian National Science Fiction Convention. Ottawa author Hayden Trenholm, one of Sawyer’s former writing students and himself a multiple Aurora Award winner, will make the presentation.
(Photo by Christina Frost of Argent Dawn Photography.)