I am not super great at keeping up with calendrical time.
I was convinced the Locus Award ceremony was happening on Saturday night. This was correct. The problem was that I had slipped into believing that yesterday was Friday, not Saturday, and had ensconced myself in my favourite internetless cafe with my journal and a pen, working out a productivity schedule for the rest of the summer while my phone charged on the windowsill by my feet, out of sight and out of mind.
At some point I picked it up to check the time, and saw I’d missed a call and some texts from Stu. These texts, and my own in response, follow.
(This makes it the second time that I learn this happy news from Stu, which delights me.)
By the time I saw that “Seasons of Glass and Iron” had won the Locus Award for Best Short Story, Seanan McGuire had already accepted on my behalf, and in fact already won her own award for Best Novella. The full list of winners, nestled among all the wonderful nominees, is here.
(Sidebar: How much do I love that the URL says “Do Not Touch 2017 Locus Award Winners.” I certainly felt like I was perilously close to some kind of feelings-based combustion.)
I’m genuinely overcome. It’s such a slippery thing, trying to hold firm to the fact that this story has moved people enough to share and honour it with awards; I haven’t blogged yet about the Nebulas (though I SHALL), and here I am in the frankly stupefying place of acknowledging a second award for the same story. I keep wishing I could find deeper, more sonorous words than thank you to make people feel what I feel about this. It means so, so much to me — not just to be honoured, but to know this particular story is finding its audience at this particular, dreadful time.
Here, meantime, is the speech I asked Seanan to deliver on my behalf in the event of my winning.
Thank you so much for this profound honour.
Once upon a time, my seven year old niece asked me to tell her a fairy tale. I wanted nothing more than to do so – but what crowded my mouth were stories of women isolated, women won as prizes, women hating each other, step-mothers at their daughters’ throats. I was struck by how I knew stories full of firebirds and golden apples and djinn but couldn’t think of a fairy tale in which two women talk to each other about something other than a man.
I wanted to tell her better stories. So I made one up.
I’m writing these words during the last light of the year’s longest day, wishing I could be among you to read them and join you in celebrating the extraordinary work you’ve highlighted from the past year. I wish borders were easier for me to cross; lately, whenever I face the prospect of travelling to the United States, it feels not entirely unlike strapping on a pair of iron shoes. Other times I feel as if I’m sitting on a glass hill, trying to keep perfectly still while in view of an angry clamour that wants to tear me apart.
But the gulf between how awful it is to cross the border and how wonderful it is to be among my friends and colleagues is so vast I’d need wings to fly it.
Huge thanks are due to my editors Dominik Parisien and Navah Wolfe, for their patience and guidance as I tried to tell the best possible version of this story; to my dear friend Max Gladstone, for zero-hour help in figuring that version out; to everyone at Uncanny magazine for reprinting and promoting it online; to my husband Stu, for tea-based support and relentless encouragement; to Seanan McGuire, for reading these words to you and being a perfect human besides. Thank you to all the wonderful people at Locus, and most especially to everyone who read, shared, discussed and voted for this story when there was such an abundance of treasure to choose from.
These times are hard on everyone I know. So with all the solstice magic I can muster, here is a wish for you: may the iron shoes fall from your feet; may your glass hills shiver into sand; may we all pass through these vicious seasons hand in hand. May we all, too, in coming years, build better stories together.