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Mythopoeic Award

So, uh, Digger won the Mythopoeic Fantasy Award for Adult Literature.

There’s a press release and everything, here

I’m…well, a little blown away, honestly. I was up against people like R.A. Macavoy and Tim Powers, and while I haven’t read the books they were nominated for, when I saw the names, my brain went “Tea With The Black Dragon! The Anubis Gates! Good lord!” and I mentally filed it under “An incredible honor to be nominated,” and thought no more about it. It’s not that I’m not proud of Digger, but we’re talking about people that I read in high school and they melted my brain.

The Mythopoeic Awards are for works that exemplify “the spirit of the Inklings” which was the writing group C.S. Lewis and Tolkien belonged to. You all know me well enough to know that I frequently have some grumpy things to say about C.S. Lewis these days—but I’m honest enough to admit that I wouldn’t care so much if his books hadn’t mattered so deeply to me when I was a kid. It’s the books that live in your heart that kill you when you pick them up later. If I didn’t still care so much about Talking Beasts, I wouldn’t want to scream “Why do you need a Son of Adam to rule you? One Beast, one vote! Trumpkin for President!”

Well. As I was not there in person to accept, I opted for a rather shorter and less fiery speech—I’m reasonably confident that I could call for revolution in Narnia in person, because either I’d carry the audience or at least I’d be the the one to get pelted with tomatoes, but that’s not a thing you can do by proxy. (And I really didn’t want it to be taken of criticism of the Mythopoeic Society, both because you don’t bite the hand that just handed you a statuette of Aslan* and because I absolutely approve of their mission—Narnia and Middle-Earth matter and no matter what the details, a society to keep alive worlds that matter is a marvelous thing.)

I wouldn’t write fan-fic about Susan for just anybody. And I will still hear no evil said of Marsh-wiggles.

So here it is, for anyone who is interested but wasn’t there to hear it:

I want to thank the Mythopoeic Society for having been so kind as to nominate Digger, my extremely patient publisher Sofawolf for having provided copies, and the judges for having made what was, for me, a wildly unexpected decision! I am sorry that I can’t be here to thank you all personally, but please know just how surprised and grateful I am.

When I was quite young, my mother got me a boxed set of the Narnia books by C.S. Lewis. I couldn’t pronounce “Narnia” but that didn’t stop me from reading the series until the bindings came unglued. These books were not like anything else I’d read, and they mattered in a way that most of the books in the school library didn’t. They made me want to write books with Talking Beasts in them. (My mother tried to explain copyright and plagiarism and that I couldn’t actually call them Talking Beasts. She suggested “Verbal Varmints” as an alternate. I recall being unamused.)

When I re-read the series as an adult, I remember being astonished at how short the books really are. When I was a child they were so much longer. There were whole scenes and histories in there that I’d only imagined or dreamed or invented inside my own head and attributed to Narnia.

The very best fantasy, I think, has this ability, to be larger on the inside, to be bigger than the sum of the words on the page. We look through the gaps between the sentences and we see a completely different landscape.

As with so many things we love as kids, my feelings about Narnia now are sometimes mixed, but you know, many years later, I did wind up writing a story about a Talking Beast–Digger the wombat–and to have it be so honored, by a society that knows all about books that are larger on the inside, is truly extraordinary. Thank you all, so very much.


*Seriously, this is a cool-looking award. I will post a photo when it arrives. I hear you can’t put on lipstick in front of it, though, or trains start derailing near your house and there’s been way too much of that going on lately already.

Originally published at Tea with the Squash God. You can comment here or there.

Wooohooo! Congratulations, and you make a good point about certain works being important despite possibly problematic elements.

Three cheers for Digger!

Hip hip, hooray!

Hip, Hip, Hooray!


I am with you on the Narnia thing. I was deeply offended when I was told about the religious angle, because I was, and still am, convinced Narnia is a Magickal Place and Christianity has No Business being in a Magickal Place, considering how much they hate on magick and witches and Talking Beasts. I won't go into the ritual history, because politics are politics and I do not discuss politics.

Furthermore, Marsh-wiggles are AWESOME. They make Emos look like happy butterflies.

2013. The Year of the Wombat!
Yea Digger!

Wow! Truly awesome news, and very well-deserved .

"Important" isn't a big enough word to describe what Narnia is to me - like you said, they're bigger on the inside. I've specifically refused to see the live action movies, simply because I want my Narnia to stay exactly how it is in my head and heart.

Digger's world has many of the same qualities. Characters that you feel had a life before what's written, and places that will keep going after the characters leave the area. It's a real world.

You are quite right to avoid the live action movies. Despite considerable efforts, they simply don't capture the spirit in the way the LOTR ones. Particularly, I felt that the filmed Prince Caspian was an outstanding case of a whole that was less than the sum of its parts. Some excellent acting (especially the Telmarines), all the CGI you could ask well done - and yet the result was yesterday's omelette.

I had to wait a minute to get the lipstick comment, then I almost drove off the road laughing.


Since I live withing a hundred or so miles of one of the disasters that are referred to here, I can't say I am nearly as amused.

Congratulations, and that is a lovely speech! Absolutely perfect!

You know where this is all leading, right?



Here, let me give you these beans. If you look carefully, these are the rare and colorful cool beans. These seem to be pink with aqua speckles.

Hey, that is awesome! Congratulations!

I may never write it down, but I, too, have a What Happened To Susan story in my head. Because I CARED about her. That was my first instance of the wonderful fan absurdity where you get truly pissed at the author for not getting their own characters/stories right.

And I had the same response when I looked at the books later. "I ... remember these being BIGGER." And they are, because you know things are going on while you're not there. That's a successful world.

PS: I just reread The Lord of the Rings and got really frustrated at the trope where The King Returns. After a few centuries, I'd expect the citizenry to find some OTHER form of government--you know, besides several generations of powerless stewards. Some clown comes in proclaiming he is the Heir to the Ancient Throne, and everyone should be like, "Oh, isn't that interesting. Well, nice to meet you, but we don't need your services, what with the new constitutions and parliaments that have been around for two hundred years. Cool family tree, though." Once again, Pratchett gets it more right than the ones he's parodying.

Edited at 2013-07-15 05:31 pm (UTC)

Congratulations! Well-deserved, and an excellent speech! I totally would have joined the Revolution if you'd given that one, though.