This is an exciting development for award season. FIYAH magazine is gearing up for their virtual FIYAHCON in October. To add to the fun they have also announced a new SFF Award named the IGNYTE award.
“In the tradition of FIYAH, when we see a need going unfulfilled, we correct it. To that effect, we are thrilled to announce the creation of the Ignyte Awards series as part of the inaugural FIYAHCON event. The Awards seek to celebrate the vibrancy and diversity of the current and future landscapes of science fiction, fantasy, and horror by recognizing incredible feats in storytelling and outstanding efforts toward inclusivity of the genre.”https://theconvention.fiyahlitmag.com/the-ignyte-awards/
Most of the categories are ones common to other awards (Best Novel, Best Novella etc) but there are also some innovative categories such as:
- Best in Creative Nonfiction
- The Ember Award for Unsung Contributions to Genre
- Community Award for Outstanding Efforts in Service of Inclusion and Equitable Practice in Genre
We are award nerds here, so it is really interesting to see how FIYAH are structuring them. Like lots of awards it is a two-stage process — pick nominees to be finalists, pick finalists to be winners. They’ve decided to go with a split jury/popular vote system:
- Round one: finalists are chosen by the FIYAHCON staff, essentially acting as a jury.
- Round two: an open no-cost online vote open to anybody. Voting will be a simple pick your favourite.
I think this is a smart choice. Having a jury led first round means the awards can avoid complex eligibility rules and curate a field of finalists that can reflect the kinds of works/creators that they want to reflect the ethos of the awards. All awards end up with their own kind of signature (even awards with a similar overlap of finalists like the Nebulas and the Hugos) but it can take a long time to establish that unique character. The nomination phase is also a weak point for people trying to game or disrupt awards, so curating the list of finalist also saves a lot of potential headaches.
This makes the second round a lot easier to run as open participation vote. Participation drives interest and engagement. People are more invested in finding out who won when they’ve had a chance to participate. Because the finalists are a curated choice, it means voting can be open but voters are likely to be self-selecting: people who aren’t familiar with the finalists are unlikely to vote whereas people who are familiar with them are more likely to vote. The system should help create it’s own pool of interested voters.
“Finalists will be announced Monday, August 17th, at which point we will open voting to the broader SFF community through September 11th. Winners will be announced the weekend of the convention.”https://theconvention.fiyahlitmag.com/the-ignyte-awards/
The award is free for nominees and voters but to cover costs for the trophy and shipping the trophies, FIYAHCON has asked for donations…which look like are now fully funded!
I really hope this works out well. I’m looking forward to seeing the finalists as well as seeing how the whole thing operates.