Thursday, August 31, 2017

Young Adult Award (not a Hugo) Ratified!

Those who have followed this blog over the years know that I’ve been pushing for a YA Award to be a part of the Hugo Awards for a few years. Previous reports about it can be found via the links at the bottom of this post.

During Worldcon 75 this year in Helsinki, Finland, the question of a YA Award came up again at the business meeting. The previous year's YA Award Committee report was to cover its decisions on the following questions:

Will the award be named for a person? Will the award be called ‘YA’, ‘teen lit’, or some other such thing?

Alex Acks reported on the Hugo Awards rules changes at the Business Meeting – nominations, Best Series, and, most importantly, the Young Adult Award.

The committee report given last year at Sasquan had a good breakdown on how various other awards determined what was YA, what was middle grade, and the pros and cons of using marketing categories. The YA Committee decided that the Award should be treated like the Campbell Award (not a Hugo), so that a strict definition of what constitutes YA wouldn't be needed, nor would a word limit (which is what determines several of the categories of the Hugos).

However, the Committee couldn't decide on a name for the award. They created a committee to collect and evaluate name ideas.

The report from the YA Award Study Committee listed the names they collected via several surveys. It went into their naming considerations: should the award be named for a person or an idea, were there other awards already using the proposed name, and several other points. One point that a few people missed at the Business Meeting was that, if a personal name of an author was suggested, the committee also looked at whether the author's other works would somehow reflect negatively on the award. They eventually decided against personal names for the award.

The Committee came up with ten names on their shortlist. Those ten names were run past a group of people knowlegeable in cultural diversity and cross-cultural sensitivity. Those ten names were then put on a Public Shortlist Voting Survey which people could vote on from January 15 through March 15, 2017. They had both a Facebook and a Twittter page from which they promoted the survey, and those of us following the whole award debate also passed on the news about the survey. The final name chosen by the Committee after all that was Lodestar.

I recommend that anyone interested check out the Committee's report. There were quite a few names suggested by people and the Committee did a fantastic job checking and evaluating each one.

The name will be ratified at the 2018 Business Meeting in San Jose. The Business Meeting in Helsinki (after a lot of procedural backs and forths*) voted to ratify the Young Adult Award (Not A Hugo) 65-27. And there was much cheering. The Young Adult Award will be on the Hugo nomination form for the 2018 Hugos. Yayy!

Hopefully the Business Meeting in 2018 in San Jose will ratify the name as the Lodestar Award. Which will work out nicely for the 2019 Worldcon, which will be held in Dublin, Ireland. The Guest of Honor for that Worldcon has already been announced, and the GOH will be Diane Duane! (I highly recommend her YA Young Wizards series)

What do you think of the YA Award (not a Hugo)?

* Seriously, a lot of back and forths. If you really want all the details, Alex Acks detailed it in a liveblog starting at 1116. And running until 1245 (whew).

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