Mythopoeic Awards

Acceptance Remarks — 2014

2014 Mythopoeic Fantasy Award for Adult Literature

Helene Wecker, The Golem and the Jinni The Golem and the Jinni by Helene Wecker
Thank you so, so much. This is an amazing honor, and a truly humbling one. As I was looking over the list of past winners, I realized that the Mythopoeic Awards just about paved the path I took to writing fantasy. It was authors like J.R.R. Tolkien, Neil Gaiman, A.S. Byatt, Michael Chabon, and Susanna Clarke who taught me to create a world powered not just by fantasy, but by meaning, and then populate it with creatures that reflect our deepest human hopes and fears. So, to be counted among those authors feels truly fantastic in itself.

I wish I could be there to say all this in person, but there’s a newborn and a toddler keeping me at home. Right now I’m probably half-asleep, in three-day-old clothing, and in desperate need of a shower. So instead, I’ll raise a glass to you all from a safe distance, and send you my sincere and happy thanks.

2014 Mythopoeic Fantasy Award for Children’s Literature

Holly Black, Doll Bones Doll Bones by Holly Black
Thank you so much. I am truly honored that the Mythopoeic Society selected Doll Bones to be the recipient of the award for young people this year. This award has always held a special place in my heart because of my great love for Tolkien, but also because of my great love for fellow recipients. Books like Mary Stewart’s The Crystal Cave, Ellen Kushner’s Thomas the Rhymer, Terri Windling’s The Wood Wife, Megan Whalen Turner’s The Queen’s Thief series, and Jane Yolen’s Briar Rose have been the stars I’ve steered my ship by, so to have a tiny Aslan of my own makes me very happy indeed.

I must also thank Simon and Schuster and in particular, my editor, Karen Wojtyla, for her encouragement and excellent advice. I wish I could have made it to accept this award in person, but please know that I thank you with all my heart.

2014 Mythopoeic Scholarship Award for Inklings Studies

Jason Fisher, ed., Tolkien and the Study of His Sources: Critical Essays Tolkien and the Study of His Sources: Critical Essays ed. by Jason Fisher
Friends, I am sorry I could not have been with you all in person tonight. To have won this year’s Mythopoeic Scholarship Award for Inklings Studies is a truly humbling honor. This marks only the third time in the Mythopoeic Society’s more than forty-year history that an edited collection on the Inklings has won the award — the last one already a dozen years ago — so I do not take the honor lightly.

I share this award equally with my contributors, and since this is such a rare occasion, I hope you will not mind my naming them all here, a bit like Bilbo calling out his relations at his eleventy-first birthday party — Ed Risden, Nick Birns, Kris Larsen, Miryan Librán-Moreno, Thomas Honegger, Judy Ann Ford, John Rateliff, Mark Hooker, Diana Glyer, Josh Long, and — the primus inter pares, who really gave me the blueprint for how to think about Tolkien — Tom Shippey. Certainly not least, I must also thank my wife, Jennifer, for her unwavering support and patience while I have indulged this fantasy of mine for so many years. She is truly Üthe tree and the branch where the fruit of joy finds its season.Ý

In many ways, my book was the first of its kind, but I hope it will not be the last. It presents a theory of Tolkienian source criticism, followed by a systematic — if inevitably incomplete — demonstration of that theory. Such a thing was needed, because while source criticism has long been one of the most popular approaches to Tolkien, it has often been misused and abused. So I intended the book as a kind of apology for source criticism, but I secretly hoped the book would prove to readers that the discipline really needs no apology. The recognition you bestow on me tonight suggests I made some real progress, and that is deeply gratifying.

No work of literary criticism that advances the discipline stands on its own. My book is no exception. The essays in my collection build on more than three hundred other works, both primary and secondary, and it is my hope that these essays will be in their turn the building blocks for future works, inspiring new discoveries. Indeed, this is already happening. And so the great conversation continues. I am honored to have spoken a few words of it, or even just a syllable. To which let me add two more — thank you!

2014 Mythopoeic Award for Myth and Fantasy Studies

G. Ronald Murphy, Tree of Salvation: Yggdrasil and the Cross in the North Tree of Salvation: Yggdrasil and the Cross in the North  by G. Ronald Murphy
Looking back I can still feel the excitement of many years ago when I realized how great a role the evergreen tree and the stories of Yggdrasil seemed to have played in the conversion of the North. I even wrote an article on the subject for America magazine that appeared in its December 14, 1996, issue. Realizations, though, if they are going to be the subject of exploration for many years to see if they are borne out in real art and artifacts, require a fair amount of support. Interest and encouragement in the subject coming from fellow researchers and students and from a group like the Mythopoeic Society constituted a real incentive to continue. I received such interest and encouragement that it multiplied my own curiosity and thus this book has come to pass.

[from the acknowledgements, Tree of Salvation, p. ix]

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