it has been two weeks since the 2020 British Fantasy Award winners were announced, and it has finally sunk in, so: somehow, I won two BFAs. This is a thing that happened.
I was talking to my dad about the weird attitude prevalent among many British people (myself included) that celebrating your achievements is collective anathema. We conflate ‘being proud’ with ‘boasting’. And upon reflection, I’m not sure why this is. It is, in part, what has kept me from writing this blog post – the fear that just celebrating this achievement might be seen as boastful or egotistical. But that’s daft, and I recognise it is daft.
Sing Your Sadness Deep was the culmination of eight years of work. From my first short story publication in 2012 to the publication of that collection, I’ve been fortunate enough to be surrounded by a community which is in turns supportive, inspirational, uplifting and – if you’ll beg my pardon – talented as fuck. So it is not for nothing that I say I owe my friends and peers a great debt. I would not even have thought to publish my short fiction at all if not for Martin Owton and Gary Couzens; I would never have submitted to Interzone if not for Simon Bestwick; Sing Your Sadness Deep would never have happened at all if not for Michael Kelly, the support from Priya Sharma, Rob Shearman, Simon Strantzas. The Pain-Eater’s Daughter would never have been finished if not for Laura Moody, Rachel Monte, Lina Boatman. And on, and on, and on. These are only some of them names; I’d be here all day if I tried to name you all, and so if you think I’m talking about you, then believe me, I am.
So…yes. I’m stunned, and I’m proud, and I’m deeply touched. I said in my extremely half-arsed winner’s speech (sorry) that this book (and indeed, The Pain-Eater’s Daughter) is dedicated to anyone who’s ever felt a little bit monstrous. Empathy for the monster is a subject dear to my heart, and Sing Your Sadness Deep really does have this at its core. The queer and the lost and the alien; those who don’t belong, who have fallen through the gaps and can’t seem to find their way back. I see you, and I love you.
My most heartfelt thanks to everyone who believed in me, encouraged me, and knew that I could do it. I wouldn’t have achieved this without you. Thank you.