Nalo Hopkinson sent me this photo of my pal and collaborator Karl Schroeder accepting the Sunburst Award (presented by Michelle Sagara) for my short story collection, A Place So Foriegn and Eight More on my behalf at last night’s ceremony at Toronto’s Merril Collection sf library. Here’s the speech he read for me:
It is a cliche to note that receiving an award conveys an honour upon its recipient, but this is a stupendous honour and I would be remiss if I failed to tell you all how mightily chuffed I am. I am deeply sorry that I am not able to be there tonight: I am with you in spirit.
The list of people who deserve to be thanked for this is long indeed: the friends and colleagues; the fans and readers; the editors and critics; the collaborators and the writers who inspired me — and the jury, them too! My most sincere thanks to all of you.
No writer is an island, no idea is original, no effort is a solo effort. We stand upon the shoulders of giants, we collaborate with our colleagues and with the immortal words of our dead literary ancestors. Literature — indeed, all human endeavor — is dignified and uplifted through collaboration and cooperation. We sit atop a great erected infrastructure of human invention and effort, all of it embodied in the bricks and boards that surround us, and, most importantly, in the traditional knowledge that allows each generation to improve upon the bricks and boards of the last one.
The writer is engaged in dialog with the world and with posterity. Our words go on to form a layer of the substrate of human creation. Those who tell us that our words, our art and our posterity are best served with strong locks and high fences are *not on our side*. No writer could pen a single word but for the rich humus of public domain effort with which we garden our notions and conceits.
So thank you all, and thanks most of all to our ancestors, the bringers of fire and the inventors of the wheel, the Judith Merrils and the Phyllis Gotleibs, the Gilgameshes and the golems, the Turings and the Teslas. Thanks to the brave pirates who continue to preserve our posterity in the face of outrageous insult to creation. Thanks to the readers and to you all.