Guest Post: World Science Fiction Society Young Adult Award


Having recently been a judge for the YA categories of the Aurealis Awards, I’ve grown quite familiar with the genre. So I was delighted to hear the WSFS is exploring the possibility of establishing a YA award tied to the Hugos. Today I have Forestofglory here to tell us a bit about the award.

I’m here to talk a bit about the prospective World Science Fiction Society (WSFS) Young Adult award and ask you to take a short survey to help decide on the name of the award. WSFS is the organization that sets the rules for Worldcons and the Hugo and Campbell Awards. It is run by volunteers and is a direct democracy. I am part of committee formed to study the possibility of a YA award. Last year we recommended that a YA award similar to the Hugo Awards be created (kind of like the Campbell award). This year the committee was tasked with finding a name for said award.

Elizabeth asked me to talk a bit about the community aspect of this award so I thought I would share a bit about my background and my goals for the award. I bought my first Worldcon supporting membership a few years ago so that I could nominate for and vote on the Hugo Awards. I joined because members of my online community had been voting in the Hugos and made it seem like fun. After joining my first Worldcon, I became a member of a new-to-me community of Hugo voters. Mostly I participated online, talking with friends about what I had read and watched and what we wanted to nominate. I’ve had good experiences with the WSFS community, though the last two years were politically fraught. The Worldcon community is not always welcoming, it costs money to join, the rules are complex and arcane, and debates about even minor details can get heated. Nonetheless, I love how they insist that you are buying a membership, not a ticket. I love the long history of the community, dating back to the 1st Worldcon in 1939. As a member of this community, I want to reach out to the YA community to share things and ideas we both enjoy. For me that’s what awards are best at creating ways to honor and share things we love.

The push to create an award was started by Worldcon members who were also part of YA communities and wanted to see these communities brought together. Three years ago, a 20-person committee was formed by WSFS to study the feasibility of a YA award (I joined year ago after the committee was formed). Members are long-time Worldcon attendees, YA librarians, academics, lifelong YA readers, and young adults. We’re all volunteers.

Since I last wrote about the YA award process, the YA committee has been analyzing feedback from the first open-ended survey and creating a shortlist of possible names, which are featured on our current survey. The process of narrowing down the names was tricky and at times contentious. We needed eliminate names that were already in use for another award, or that had unfortunate double connotations. We also debated which names had cross-generational appeal and whether to consider names of real people. In the end we decided not to include names and picked a shortlist of six possible names.

You can read more about what we like about each name on the survey itself. You can also find more information of Facebook and twitter @worldconYA. The survey will be open until March 15. We would love to have your input.

Earl Grey Editing, English oak, autumn leaves

In addition to being a YA fan, Forestofglory frequently recommends short stories and discusses her thoughts on Hugo nominees at her blog.