by Sheila Williams
June 1, 2023, was a beautiful day for multiple celebrations in New York City. We joined forces with our sister magazine, Analog, to honor a number of our award recipients and finalists.
In the morning, we held a brunch for those finalists who had already arrived at Sarabeth’s Tribeca. The restaurant is located on Manhattan’s Greenwich Street about a ten-minute stroll from the World Trade Center. We sat in their lovely outdoor shed. New York restaurant sheds came into existence with the pandemic. They’ve improved the quality of outdoor dining and are a pleasant place for a group gathering. Senior managing editor Emily Hockaday; Analog’s editor, Trevor Quachri; and I were joined for brunch by Rick Wilber, who flew in from Florida; Suzanne Palmer, who trained in from Western Massachusetts; Jay Werkheiser, who took a bus from Pennsylvania; and local author Nick Wolven who only had to take the subway from the Bronx. We parted ways after a delicious meal and captivating conversation.
That evening we regrouped for a reading at the Housing Works Bookstore. Here we were joined by a number of authors who had made there way to NYC from the Boston area of Massachusetts as well as by Ray Nayler who had traveled from Washington, DC, with his family. Frank Wu met up with Jay to read from their AnLab Award winning novella and Kedrick Brown, who was the inaugural winner of the Analog Award for Emerging Black Voices, read from his story. Asimov’s finalists Rick Wilber, Ray Nayler, and poet R.K. Rugg also participated, as did our Readers’ Award winner Suzanne Palmer.
Ray Rugg read his poem, “I Recalled Old Earth Last Night in a Dream”; Ray Nayler read an excerpt from his short story, “The Empty”; and Rick Wilber, who was an award finalist for two novellas, read an excerpt from “The Goose.” The audience packed the room, and the bookstore, which serves wine, beer, and soft drinks, kept the mood festive. Attendees asked questions and milled around both before and after the reading. We were delighted that some local authors like Mercurio D. Rivera, Rajan Khanna, Matthew Kressel, Anthony Ha, and Genevieve Valentine could be there. We missed our winners, Kristine Katherine Rusch, Susan Palwick, Oghenechovwe Donald Ekpeki, and Stewart C. Baker, and all our finalists who couldn’t attend.
Although I made the formal announcement of the award winners at the event, I didn’t have the actual certificate on hand to present to Suzanne for her novelette, “Falling Off the Face of the World.” Fortunately, that situation was rectified when I met up with her in July at Readercon, a convention held annually in Quincy, Massachusetts. Suzanne and I had a fun dinner and then I presented her with the award in the lobby of the Marriott Hotel.
Copyright © 2023 Sheila Williams