Dublin Based Writer Wins James White Award

Tue 5th Nov 2002

Dublin Based Writer Wins James White AwardThe James White Award have released the following press release:

James White Award presented in Birmingham, UK - Julian West wins for Vita Brevis, Ars Longa

DUBLIN, NOVEMBER 4 2002. The 2002 James White Award, established to honour one of Ireland's best-loved science fiction writers, was presented yesterday to Julian West for his short story Vita Brevis, Ars Longa. West receives a cash prize and a trophy and his winning story will be published in Interzone, Europe's leading magazine of speculative fiction.

West's story was chosen from a field of over 100 entries from all over the world. The final judging was conducted by a panel drawn from the science fiction field in the USA and Europe: Michael Carroll, David Pringle, Orson Scott Card, Christopher Fowler and Graham Joyce.

Originally from Southampton in the UK, West now lives in Dublin, Ireland with his wife and three children, where he works as a computer programmer. He says Vita Brevis Ars Longa was inspired by a visit to the Irish Museum of Modern Art in the Royal Hospital Kilmainham and in particular by a series of works by Janine Antoni. "I saw a series of busts in chocolate and soap and the artist had cast her nipples in gold. This led me ask 'how far can you go with this?'"

Commenting on the winning story, judging panel member Orson Scott Card said, "While the premise is outlandish, all the surrounding characters, attitudes, and - above all - reviews, are dead on. This omni directional satire leaves no victims standing in the international arts scene. Yet the satire is always deft, the writing smooth and clear, so that even if you don't "buy" the premise, you're still swept along to the inevitable - but satisfying - end."

The Award was presented at a ceremony at the Quality Inn, Walsall immediately following the Novacon 32 Science Fiction Convention. Novacons are held annually in the Birmingham area and James White was a guest of honour at the very first one in 1970 and at Novacon 15. White's granddaughter Sinead Larkin presented the award. Speaking at the ceremony, Ian McDonald, Guest of Honour at Novacon 32 spoke of how White had influenced him. "He continues to have this positive influence on new writers through this award."

James White was Ireland's best-known science fiction writer. His first published story, Assisted Passage, appeared in New Worlds in 1953. Before that, however, he was known for his work on the fanzines Slant and Hyphen. His novels include All Judgement Fled, The Watch Below and The Silent Stars Go By. However he is best remembered for his series of stories and novels set on the giant space hospital Sector General. He died from a stroke in August 1999.

Details of the 2003 award will be announced early in the New Year.

The James White Award

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