The Gemmell Awards for Fantasy: Shortlist 2017

Voting on the shortlists closes on Friday 2nd June. Cast your votes on the David Gemmell Awards official website HERE. The awards will be presented on the 15th July 2017, at the Edge-Lit 6 event in Derby. Be there or be…not there? Elsewhere? Somewhere?

Blood has been spilled. Blades have been dulled. Bones have been broken. But to all, glory! Glory for their fighting, their smiting, and their nail-biting performances.

Debut fighters have tested their mettle to metal. Showmen and women have dazzled the crowd with mysticism and masterpiece. Legends have unleashed their might, magics and mischiefs. Of the one-hundred and twenty four gladiators that entered, only fifteen advance to the next round.

But only three will emerge victorious!

Gemmell Awards Logo

Voting on the shortlists for the 2017 David Gemmell Awards for Fantasy are due to close this friday. The awards showcase authors and their works from all across the globe, and across the sub genres of heroic fantasy, traditional, sword & sorcery, high and low – and most importantly, those in the spirit of Gemmell’s work.

The awards are broken down into the following categories, each named after one of Gemmell’s books. Morningstar for best debut, Ravenheart for best cover art, and the coveted Legend award for best fantasy novel. Each category has five nominees, as follows:

Morningstar Award Trophy (Gemmell Awards)

(Best Debut)

  • Mark de Jager, Infernal (Del Rey UK)
  • Christopher Husberg, Duskfall (Titan)
  • Megan E O’Keefe, Steal The Sky (Angry Robot)
  • Adrian Selby, Snakewood (Orbit)
  • Jon Skovron, Hope and Red (Orbit)


Ravenheart Award Trophy (Gemmell Awards)

(Best Cover Art)

  • Alessandro Baldaserroni for Black Rift by Josh Reynolds (Black Library)
  • Jason Chan for Wheel of Osheim by Mark Lawrence (Harper Voyager)
  • Sam Green for The Bands of Mourning by Brandon Sanderson (Gollancz)
  • Kerby Rosannes for Nevernight by Jay Kristoff (Harper Voyager)
  • Paul Young for Wrath by John Gwynne (Tor)


The Legend Award - Snaga (Gemmell Awards)

(Best Novel)

  • John Gwynne, Wrath (Tor)
  • Jay Kristoff, Nevernight (Harper Voyager)
  • Mark Lawrence, The Wheel of Osheim (Harper Voyager)
  • Brandon Sanderson, The Bands of Mourning (Gollancz)
  • Gav Thorpe, Warbeast (Black Library)

Whilst these awards celebrate traditional-published fantasy works released in the past year, let’s not forget that they celebrate the life and works of the late, great, big-daddy of heroic fantasy, David Gemmell. Gemmell and his books meant a lot to many readers, and have stood the test of time to continue to mean something in the modern world. They’re relatable yet fantastical, grim but hopeful, flawed and still very much full of life, lesson and legacy. Fundamentally, they’re human.

I invited several authors, both veterans and tyros as Gemmell has inspired across the generations, to share their thoughts on the big man himself. A big thank you to them for their time and contributions.

Christian Cameron (aka. Miles Cameron, author of ‘The Red Knight’):

‘I started writing fantasy because of David Gemmell.’

Stan Nicholls (author of ‘Orcs’, chair of the DGLA):

‘Dave Gemmell’s greatest influence on me was as a man, and as a friend. You have to understand that his fiction wasn’t some kind of artifice; it was a genuine expression of his personality and beliefs. He really did lay great emphasis on honour, loyalty and the desire of decent people to try to do decent things, while acknowledging that none of us our perfect beings. It was how he tried to live his life, and he imbued his characters with those qualities.’

Helen Lowe (‘Heir of Night’, winner of the DGLA Morningstar award 2012):

‘Growing up, so many aspects of David Gemmell’s novels “spoke” to me: the grand sweep of the stories and their sense of contending light and dark, the way the characters’ choices are so often around sacrifice and duty, yet friendship and love are always the heart of the story. And yes, I then wanted to write stories ‘just like that’ myself.’

Andy Remic (British fantasy author of ‘The Iron Wolves’, ‘The Clockwork Vampire Chronicles’ and more):

‘A friend passed me Legend by David Gemmell when I was fourteen years old –and I was immediately hooked. Just over a year later my father passed away, and I immersed myself in reading to help get over the loss – and I read all of Dave’s books, buying them the day they came out. David Gemmell was a great writer, a great story-teller, and was extremely influential on me as a writer, but more, as a human being. May he rest well in the Hall of Heroes.’

Ed McDonald (author of the upcoming ‘Blackwing’):

‘The first time I read Legend, I was made to understand people who would fight for a cause, and to stand against what was wrong even if it cost them their lives. The seventh time I read it, the message was rang just as clear. We may not stand on the walls of Dros Delnoch, but Druss’s message is timeless; an imperative not to take the easy road, or to let others bare misfortune in our place, but to do what’s right.’

Anna Smith Spark (author of the upcoming ‘The Court of Broken Knives’):

‘My first year at university: I spent all day studying classical history, all night playing d&d. Superb! I hadn’t read Gemmell then, but the DM and one of the other players had, and shaped the whole game world around the character of Druss. Between that and the courses on the Trojan War and Alexander the Great, I wasn’t so much reading Gemmell as living it. The character I played then was the original of Thalia, the heroine of Broken Knives. She was more real to me than most people. Possibly still is. So Gemmell shaped my writing and my whole view of fantasy hugely. In a slightly off-beat way.’

RJ Barker (author of the upcoming ‘Age of Assassins’):

‘I kind of think of David Gemmell as the AC/DC of Fantasy; it’s relatively straightforward, you generally know what you’re going to get and, though a lot of people think they can do it, no one else does it quite as well.’

James Barclay (Chronicles/Legends of the Raven, DGLA nominee):

‘The greatest inspiration was the man himself, not his work. To sit with Dave Gemmell for an evening was to realize that every word he spoke was laced with the passion and belief that filled his novels. He didn’t imagine it, he lived it.’

So there you have it. Finally, for anyone wondering why we haven’t included images of the book covers at this stage, it’s because we’re planning on covering each category in our series of DGLA posts over the coming weeks. Stay tuned for more, and don’t forget: voting on the shortlists closes this Friday (2nd June). The awards will be presented on the 15th July 2017, at the Edge-Lit 6 event in Derby.  Cast your votes HERE.

*Please note: this article was originally posted on Fantasy Faction.

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