The First Annual Last Drink Bird Head Award Finalists

Jeff VanderMeer • October 4th, 2009 @ 7:59 pm • News

As I noted before, we’re giving out awards at the Last Drink Bird Head party at World Fantasy Award. The more that Ann and I thought about it, the more service awards seemed particularly appropriate given the nature of the Last Drink anthology. So we got all serious and spent a good deal of time thinking about categories and finalists. We thought awards from this perspective might be a very good thing for the field, so we’re leaving open the probability of continuing the awards next year, and the year after that. If we do so, we’ll put formal guidelines in place, have some custom-made trophies, and probably use a panel of judges. But for now, it’s all us, for better or worse….

And now, without further ceremony or ado, here are the nominees for the first annual Last Drink Bird Head Awards. (Some of our categories may be playful, but we are truly serious in our respect for all of the nominees.)


We’re pleased to announce the finalists for the first annual Last Drink Bird Head Awards, as chosen by Ann and Jeff VanderMeer. The purpose of the awards is to celebrate those in the genre community who enrich us with their time, energy, and words, often for causes greater than themselves. Finalists for this year’s award were chosen for efforts in 2008 and/or 2009. The winners will be announced at the Last Drink Bird Head Party at the World Fantasy Convention in San Jose, California (October 29, 8p.m., Imperial Parlor, 20th floor). Winners will receive a bird head figurine, a certificate, and chocolate.

The awards are named after the anthology Last Drink Bird Head from Ministry of Whimsy Press (an imprint of Wyrm Publishing). The proceeds from the anthology benefit the ProLiteracy charity. Contributors include Peter Straub, Ellen Kushner, Gene Wolfe, Tanith Lee, and over 80 others. To buy the limited hardcover and support literacy, visit the order page.


Gentle Advocacy
In recognition of individuals willing to enter into blunt discourse about controversial issues…

– K. Tempest Bradford
– Nick Mamatas
– John Scalzi

Tireless Energy
In recognition of individuals who selflessly give of themselves for worthy organizations or causes…

– Natania Barron (for the Outer Alliance)
– Leslie Howle (for Clarion West and Hugo House activities)
– Rina Weisman (for SF in SF and the Variety Children’s Charity of Northern California)

Promotion of Reading
In recognition of individuals whose efforts contribute to the promotion of reading or an increase in reading proficiency…

– Colleen Cahill (for her work at the Library of Congress as an advocate for genre fiction and as the library’s representative to the ALA)
– James Gunn (for his work with AboutSF)
– Susan Straub (for her work as the creator and director of the Read to Me program, the goal of which is, in part, to “stimulate the imagination”)

Expanding Our Vocabulary
In recognition of writers whose fiction or nonfiction exposes readers to new words and, often, new ideas…

– John Clute
– Hal Duncan
– Catherynne M. Valente

International Activism
In recognition of those who work to bring writers from other literary traditions and countries to the attention of readers in North America, the United Kingdom, and Australia…

– Charles Tan (for Bibliophile Stalker and various ad hoc efforts)
– Lavie Tidhar (for internet advocacy and for editing The Apex Book of World SF)
– James and Kathy Morrow (for editing The SFWA European Hall of Fame: Sixteen Contemporary Masterpieces of Science Fiction from the Continent and continuing advocacy efforts)

Special Achievement Award

The winner of a Special Achievement Award also will be announced at the Last Drink Bird Head party. This award is geared toward recognizing individuals who are proactive behind the scenes but whose efforts often don’t receive public recognition. The winner will receive an elegant Hieronymous Bosch bird-with-letter figurine, a certificate, and chocolate. Starting with year two, the award will be named after the first year’s winner.

20 Responses to “The First Annual Last Drink Bird Head Award Finalists”

  1. Mike Arnzen says:

    What a great list of people… all of whom so totally deserve this award, and more! Fantastic spirit here, you guys.

  2. S.J. Chambers says:

    Yes, I like the list too! I also like Bosch bird. Did he steal his hat from the Tin Man?

  3. John Clute says:

    moi? supercalifragilisticexpialidocious?

  4. Science Fiction Awards Watch » Blog Archive » Last Drink Bird Head Awards says:

    [...] and Ann VanderMeer have announced the inaugural (and hopefully continuing) Last Drink Bird Head Awards, which are intended to reward [...]

  5. Cheryl’s Mewsings » Blog Archive » Last Drink Bird Head Awards says:

    [...] and Ann VanderMeer have announced a new set of awards to be presented in conjunction with the launch at World Fantasy of their [...]

  6. Cheryl says:

    Awesome. Just awesome.

  7. hellbound heart says:

    classy award trophies, mate…..

    peace and love……

  8. GlenH says:

    These are fantastic. Are these the first non-craft awards in the SF community? If they are then they’ve been sorely needed without anyone realising. If not then the well chosen categories (and nominees) certainly fill a need.

  9. Jeff VanderMeer says:

    Glen: I’m not sure there are other non-craft awards, in terms of a full ballot. Some craft awards do, of course, have some service categories. Cheryl Morgan would be a better person to weigh in on the subject than me.

    We’re delighted with the response thus far.

  10. Ellen Kushner says:

    Wow – these are right on! I ran my eye down the nicely boldfaced categories, thought, “Hey – So-and-so should be in this category” – and, lo, So-and-so’s name led all the rest! Keep it up – and don’t change the trophies! And I can think of a few more nominees for next year . . . . This is an inspired idea.

  11. Susan Straub says:

    Dear dear Jeff (and Ann)-
    I am amazed and delighted to be listed. This is such a surprise. That’s for thinking
    of me. Regardless of the outcome, I feel I’m a winner.
    Here’s to the inauguration and long life of the Last Drink Bird Head!

  12. Jeff VanderMeer says:

    Ellen–I think you’re right re the trophies. And I’ll make a note to ping you next year re nominees.

    Susan–well, you do such amazing work, it was a pretty easy choice.

  13. John Zeock says:

    MUST have the Special Achievement Bird !!!! Tell me what I have to do and I’ll do it…

  14. Darrell Schweitzer says:

    I have to admit that Boschian figurine is the coolest trophy I have ever seen. It looks like a very solid list of worthy contenders, too.

  15. Lavie Tidhar News | Zeno Literary Agency Ltd. says:

    [...] is nominated for one of Ann and Jeff Vandermeer’s Last Drink Bird Head Awards! He is up for the International Activism prize, given ‘In recognition of those who work to [...]

  16. IW says:

    Hey, This was a awesome blog post thank you sincerely for sharing that info with us.

  17. World SF: Our Possible Future « Apex Magazine says:

    [...] Shirley Jackson Awards, Fantasy Magazine, The World SF Blog, and SF Signal. In 2009, he won the Last Drink Bird Head Award for International Activism. He is also a 2011 World Fantasy nominee for the Special Award, [...]

  18. Lauriat, the World Fantasy Awards and International Speculative Ficiton – An Interview with Charles Tan « International Speculative Fiction says:

    [...] Blog (, and SF Signal ( In 2009, he won the Last Drink Bird Head Award ( [...]

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