Tonight SF Canada presented the first SF Canada Lifetime Achievement Award to Phyllis Gotlieb at a reception at the Merri Collection of Science Fiction, Speculation and Fantasy in Toronto, in recognition of an outstanding and groundbreaking body of work in science fiction.
Ms. Gotlieb, 82, of Toronto, Ontario, is considered to be one of the founders of contemporary Canadian science fiction and has been a prominent voice in the field for over four decades.
Phyllis Gotlieb has had a prolific writing career in the genre, beginning with her 1964 novel, Sunburst. Canada’s top juried award for speculative writing, the Sunburst Award, was named for Gotlieb’s seminal novel. Her most recent release is Birthstones, published in 2007 by Robert J. Sawyer Books. Ms. Gotlieb is also a celebrated poet and received a Governor General’s Award nomination in 1970 for her collection Ordinary, Moving.
“Phyllis Gotlieb has been a mentor, an inspiration and a trailblazer in Canadian science fiction for decades,” said SF Canada president, Colleen Anderson. “The Lifetime Achievement Award is the highest honour our organization can bestow and Phyllis is a most deserving recipient.”
Below is the text of the remarks made by Joe Mahoney, Vice-President of SF Canada, at tonight's reception:
“Everyone here knows Phyllis Gotlieb. You know her work; perhaps you're fortunate enough to know her personally. You might know that she was born Phyllis Fay Bloom right here in Toronto, and that she was educated in Toronto as well. I don't have to tell you that she's written many fine novels, poems, short stories, and that her work spans many decades and genres -- that it is an outstanding body of work. You already know that.
“Did you know that she's written radio plays too? Of course you did.
“Phyllis is a founding member of SF Canada. Indeed, she is one of the founders of contemporary Canadian science fiction. She has been and continues to be a role model and mentor to many of us who consider her a part of our extended family. In her groundbreaking career Phyllis has been an editor, she's been nominated for a Governor General's Award, and she's even had an award named after one of her novels: The Sunburst Award. And the award we're presenting today isn't her first award – her novel A Judgment of Dragons, published by Berkley, won the Canadian Science Fiction Award in 1981.
“You are no doubt familiar with the sheer scope of Phyllis's work: with her elegant prose, the gritty reality of her fictional worlds, and the vibrant, sometimes tragic characters inhabiting those worlds. Such work has made her a towering figure in Canadian literature, a pioneer in Canadian science fiction. But her reputation transcends our borders – her work is respected the world over.
“It's one thing to be accomplished. It's quite another to be as accomplished as Phyllis is and remain so darned friendly. As a recipient of her generosity and warmth -- one of many recipients, I know – I am happy to attest not only to Phyllis's towering achievements as an artist, but also to her enduring humility.
“All of which is more than enough reason to present our very own Grande Dame of Science Fiction with this honour here tonight. Phyllis, on behalf of SF Canada, I am thrilled to present you with the first ever SF Canada Lifetime Achievement Award, along with my sincere congratulations.”