While researching a paper that I’m writing on the exchange of real and cultural capital in the major Science Fiction awards, I ran across this bit of trivia. I always considered the Hugo Award the oldest major SF award, but according to Reginald’s Science Fiction and Fantasy Awards (1991), this distinction goes to the now discontinued International Fantasy Award. It was first given at the 1951 British Science Fiction Convention, and it was created by Leslie Flood, John Beynon Harris (John Wyndham), G. Ken Chapman, and Frank A. Cooper. Unfortunately, it didn’t have a long run, and it was cancelled in 1958.
Looking through the winners, I found it striking that John Wyndham’s The Day of the Triffids won 2nd place to John Collier’s Fancies and Goodnights in 1952. I had to search Google for information on Collier’s collection, because I had never heard of it before. It’s interesting to find works that win prizes, but are later marginalized–by this I mean marginalized in terms of recognition of the work and the sales of the work– compared to works that don’t win prizes or only make prize shortlists.
There are some great pictures from IFA ceremonies and more information about the prize on Greg Pickersgill’s GOSTAK website here.