Jason Sanford has written an extensive discussion on his Patreon account about the long-running allegations that Arthur C Clarke sexually abused children – the post is freely available https://www.patreon.com/posts/30298650
The range of allegations aren’t new but until 2017 they were mired in within the ugly world of British tabloid journalism. The tabloids of the UK have rarely been a great source of truth but worse than that, their selective reporting and selective suppression of stories create a fog of uncertainty. That very fog was by design rather than a side-effect, as it is intended to create an atmosphere of rumour and weakly substantiated stories that can drive stories over decades.
As Sanford points out 2017 marks a change with Peter Troyer’s account here: https://www.vice.com/en_ca/article/bjxp5m/we-asked-people-what-childhood-moment-shaped-them-the-most Clarke isn’t named but the description of the notable person living in Sri Lanka is clearly Clarke.
Clarke’s influence on science fiction is indisputable and it is hardly surprising that a notable science fiction award is named after him, specifically: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arthur_C._Clarke_Award The question is whether it is time for a name change?
I think the simple answer is yes. Troyer’s account alone should be sufficient to make people reconsider whether an award should be named after Clarke. People have been sceptical of the allegations towards Clarke because those allegations were seen as coming from UK tabloids and/or arising from hostility to Clarke being gay but we can dismiss tabloid journalism as a source and still look at the core claims.
Changing the name of the award is wise. Indeed, not creating these kinds of institutional memorials is itself wise. Naming a writing award after a famous writer (even one of unimpeachable reputation) is a poor memorial to the writer. There is also something I find unsettling about other people attaching one writer’s name to a different book that the writer could never have read. It is liking getting a writer’s endorsement from the grave without the writer’s permission — one of the reasons I was not keen on their being an award named after Ursula Le Guin.
If people are going to remember the influence of a writer it won’t be because they have an award named after them. If a writer is going to become obscure, an award named after them won’t stop it. I think it would be wise for other awards to consider moving away from the Big Famous Writer Award style of title in general.