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British Science Fiction Association Award

Entry updated 1 April 2024. Tagged: Award.

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This Award developed from the original British Fantasy Award, which was sponsored by the British Science Fiction Association and initially made to a writer: John Brunner won the first in 1966. Following various organizational difficulties the award was relaunched in 1970 as the British Science Fiction Association Award – usually known as the BSFA Award and sometimes termed the British Science Fiction Award – and thereafter was for a book.

For most of its lifetime the award has been voted on by BSFA members and members of the UK national Easter Convention, or Eastercon, although often not by very many of them; in some early years the adjudication was carried out by a small judging panel. The awards are normally announced at Eastercon. From 1979 the number of categories was increased to include short fiction, media and artist. In 1993, the media award was dropped. A nonfiction category was added for the 2002 awards, briefly renamed "Related Publication" for 2003 only, suspended in 2005, and reintroduced as a juried rather than voted category in 2006; in 2007, a "shortlist" of recommended nonfiction was released but no award presented. These modifications reportedly resulted from lack of voter interest and uncertainty about the category's scope, with book-length and shorter works competing unequally. In 2008, nominations were accepted but the category failed to appear on the final ballot owing to a general lack of consensus; this problem did not recur in subsequent years. The original intention was to honour notable individual essays and reviews, but voters have tended to prefer aggregations such as books, blogs or regular columns. As of 2008, collections of material previously published before the qualifying year are ineligible unless expanded or substantially revised.

The new category "book for younger readers" was introduced in 2022, later becoming "fiction for younger readers", presumably to extend the remit to shorter fiction and exclude nonfiction (neither of which won the category in 2022 or 2023). Before the 2024 awards there was a further overhaul, with the short fiction category split into "short" for short stories and "shorter" for novelettes and novellas; the nonfiction category likewise split into "short" and "long"; and new categories added for audio fiction, collection (including anthologies), and translated short fiction.

The BSFA Award eligibility rules have occasionally changed; most early versions required UK authorship, but later only UK publication was required. The Best Artist award was normally given for a specific cover rather than for a body of work, and became officially Best Artwork in 1992. The new category of Best Book for Younger Readers was introduced in 2022. Special awards – chosen by BSFA committee members rather than a voting process – have been made five times, in 1974, 1976, 1977, 1994 and 1999 (see below). Because the award has not always been well publicized and has a relatively narrow voting base, it has never had the hoped-for effect of acting as a counterweight to the US-dominated Hugos and Nebulas. Although often named for the year in which works became eligible, the awards are listed below according to the year in which they were actually made (i.e., the following year). [PN/DRL]


Short or shorter fiction

Split in 2024 into "short" (stories) and "shorter" (novelettes and novellas). See separate listings below.

Short fiction (short stories)

  • 2024: P Djèlí Clark, "How to Raise a Kraken in Your Bathtub" (January/February 2023 Uncanny Magazine)

Shorter fiction (novelettes and novellas)



Nonfiction/related publication

Split in 2024 into long and short categories. See separate listings below.

Nonfiction (long)

Nonfiction (short)

Book/Fiction for younger readers

First awarded in 2022.

Audio fiction

Collection or anthology

Translated shorter fiction

Special award


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