It’s been a long time since I had the opportunity to dig out long frock and war-paint and head out to sparkle – and where better to exhibit such bravery than the David Gemmell Legend Award, hosted at the headquarters of The Magic Circle last Friday evening.
It was a beautifully structured event, slotted neatly together on every level of pre-preparation – and flawlessly timed on the evening itself. Fronted by the tirelessness of Debbie Miller, the experience of Stan Nicholls and the shameless in-your-face wit of James Barclay, the presentation still retained a slightly self-conscious sincerity that a larger, more established event would have lost. It was both touching and memorable; its humour completely honest.
Surrounded by the magic – and I mean the word – of the venue, the Award offered everything to touch our memories of David. Baby Snagas were offered to all five nominees – but they paled (oh did they!) beside the Raven Armouries interpretation of the Real Thing. I’ve waited twenty years to get my hands on Druss’ hardware – and apparently not in vain. It would have been against the idealistic tone of the Award to have tucked it under my frock and raced out the door with it… and, besides, I think they might have noticed…
The event was smaller than I’d guessed – but it showed a flawless ability to visualise and a genuine flair for bringing separate elements together to make it a huge success. From the gorgeous invites to the perfect canapés, from the sparkling eveningwear to the shining weapons, from the auction to the Award – it was all about the true heart of Heroic Fantasy. More than anything, it reminds us why we love the genre, why we read and/or write it, and why it holds a special place in our hearts.
Edmund Burke said, ‘All that is necessary for evil to triumph is that good men do nothing’ – a quote used by David Gemmell in ‘Legend’ and recited by James Barclay at the opening of the Award presentation. Courage and triumph are ultimately intensely personal – however, the chance to stand and thank someone else is just as important as achieving your own.
Congratulations to Andrzej Sapkowski for ‘Blood of the Elves’, winner of the first David Gemmell Legend Award. May there be many more novels from his pen, and many more Award ceremonies as heartfelt and sincere as that one.