World Fantasy Award—Life Achievement

World Fantasy Award—Life Achievement
Awarded for Outstanding service to the fantasy field
Presented by World Fantasy Convention
First awarded 1975
Most recent winners Karen Joy Fowler, Rowena Morrill

The World Fantasy Awards are given each year by the World Fantasy Convention for the best fantasy fiction and fantasy art published in English during the preceding calendar year. The awards have been described by sources such as The Guardian as a "prestigious fantasy prize",[1] and as one of the three most renowned speculative fiction awards, along with the Hugo and Nebula Awards (which cover both fantasy and science fiction).[2][3] The World Fantasy Award—Life Achievement is given each year to individuals for their overall career in fields related to fantasy. These have included, for example, authors, editors, and publishers. The specific nomination reasons are not given, and nominees are not required to have retired, though they can only win once. The Life Achievement category has been awarded annually since 1975.[4]

World Fantasy Award nominees are decided by attendees and judges at the annual World Fantasy Convention. A ballot is posted in June for attendees of the current and previous two conferences to determine two of the finalists, and a panel of five judges adds three or more nominees before voting on the overall winner of each category. Unlike the other World Fantasy Award categories, the nominees for the Life Achievement award are not announced; instead, the winner is announced along with the nominees in the other categories.[4][5] The panel of judges is typically made up of fantasy authors,[6] and is chosen each year by the World Fantasy Awards Administration, which has the power to break ties.[4] The final results are presented at the World Fantasy Convention at the end of October.[5] Through 2015, winners were presented with a statuette of H. P. Lovecraft; more recent winners receive a statuette of a tree.[7]

During the 46 nomination years, 73 people have been given the Life Achievement Award. Multiple winners have been awarded 23 times, typically two co-winners, though five were noted in 1984. Since 2000, it has become an unofficial tradition for two winners to be announced, often with one winner primarily an author and the other not.[8] While most winners have been authors and editors, five winners have been primarily artists of fantasy art and book covers, and four winners are best known for founding or running publishing houses that produce fantasy works.


In the following table, the years correspond to the date of the ceremony. Items in the Work(s) column are items and companies that the winner created or worked at; they are meant to be representative of the winner's career in the field of fantasy to that point, but the World Fantasy Award for Life Achievement is not given for any specific achievement, and no such achievements are listed by the World Fantasy Convention as reasons for the award. In many cases the winner is well known for their non-fantasy works, such as science fiction novels, which are not listed.

Winners and nominees
Year Winner(s) Work(s) Ref.
1975 Robert Bloch Psycho, "That Hell-Bound Train" [9]
1976 Fritz Leiber "Gonna Roll the Bones", Ill Met in Lankhmar [10]
1977 Ray Bradbury Dandelion Wine, The Illustrated Man [11]
1978 Frank Belknap Long The Hounds of Tindalos, The Horror from the Hills [12]
1979 Jorge Luis Borges "The Garden of Forking Paths", Ficciones [13]
1980 Manly Wade Wellman Worse Things Waiting, Who Fears the Devil? [14]
1981 C. L. Moore Jirel of Joiry, Northwest of Earth [15]
1982 Italo Calvino The Baron in the Trees, The Castle of Crossed Destinies [16]
1983 Roald Dahl James and the Giant Peach, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory [17]
1984 L. Sprague de Camp The Goblin Tower, Land of Unreason [18]
Richard Matheson Bid Time Return, I Am Legend [18]
E. Hoffmann Price "Through the Gates of the Silver Key", Far Lands, Other Days [18]
Jack Vance The Dying Earth, Lyonesse Trilogy [18]
Donald Wandrei[Note 1] The Web of Easter Island, Strange Harvest [18]
1985 Theodore Sturgeon Without Sorcery, E Pluribus Unicorn [21]
1986 Avram Davidson The Phoenix and the Mirror, Vergil in Averno [22]
1987 Jack Finney The Body Snatchers, Marion's Wall [23]
1988 Everett F. Bleiler Editing Guide to Supernatural Fiction, A Treasury of Victorian Ghost Stories [24]
1989 Evangeline Walton The Island of the Mighty, The Song of Rhiannon [25]
1990 R. A. Lafferty Serpent's Egg, The Devil is Dead [26]
1991 Ray Russell The Bishop's Daughter, The Devil's Mirror [27]
1992 Edd Cartier Artwork for Unknown, Fantasy Press [28]
1993 Harlan Ellison Deathbird Stories, Mefisto in Onyx [29]
1994 Jack Williamson "Hocus Pocus Universe", Darker Than You Think [30]
1995 Ursula K. Le Guin A Wizard of Earthsea, Always Coming Home [31]
1996 Gene Wolfe The Book of the New Sun, Soldier of the Mist [32]
1997 Madeleine L'Engle A Wrinkle in Time, A Swiftly Tilting Planet [33]
1998 Edward L. Ferman Editing The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction, The Best from Fantasy and Science Fiction [34]
Andre Norton Witch World, The Halfblood Chronicles [34]
1999 Hugh B. Cave Murgunstrumm and Others, Death Stalks the Night [35]
2000 Marion Zimmer Bradley The Mists of Avalon, Darkover [36]
Michael Moorcock Elric of Melniboné, The Knight of Swords [36]
2001 Frank Frazetta Artwork such as Conan the Destroyer, Death Dealer [37]
Philip José Farmer Hadon of Ancient Opar, Inside Outside [37]
2002 Forrest J Ackerman Editing Famous Monsters of Filmland, work as a literary agent [38]
George H. Scithers Editing Weird Tales, Amra [38]
2003 Lloyd Alexander The Black Cauldron, The High King [39]
Donald M. Grant Founding/running Donald M. Grant, Publisher, Centaur Press [39]
2004 Stephen King The Dark Tower: The Gunslinger, It [40]
Gahan Wilson Artwork for The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction, The New Yorker [40]
2005 Tom Doherty Founder of Tor Books, publisher for Ace Books [41]
Carol Emshwiller The Mount, The Start of the End of It All [41]
2006 John Crowley Little, Big, Great Work of Time [42]
Stephen Fabian Artwork for Dungeons & Dragons, Ladies & Legends [42]
2007 Betty Ballantine Co-founded Bantam Books, Ballantine Books [43]
Diana Wynne Jones Howl's Moving Castle, Charmed Life [43]
2008 Leo and Diane Dillon Artwork for Why Mosquitoes Buzz in People's Ears, Ashanti to Zulu [44]
Patricia A. McKillip Harpist in the Wind, The Forgotten Beasts of Eld [44]
2009 Ellen Asher Editor of Science Fiction Book Club, New American Library [45]
Jane Yolen Owl Moon, Lost Girls [45]
2010 Brian Lumley Necroscope, Blood Brothers [46]
Terry Pratchett The Colour of Magic, Mort [46]
Peter Straub Ghost Story, The Talisman [46]
2011 Peter S. Beagle The Last Unicorn, "Two Hearts" [47]
Angélica Gorodischer Kalpa Imperial, Opus dos [47]
2012 Alan Garner The Weirdstone of Brisingamen, "The Owl Service" [48]
George R. R. Martin A Song of Ice and Fire, Sandkings [48]
2013 Susan Cooper The Dark Is Rising, The Grey King [49]
Tanith Lee Death's Master, The Birthgrave [49]
2014 Ellen Datlow Editing Omni, Year's Best Fantasy and Horror [50]
Chelsea Quinn Yarbro The Palace, Ariosto [50]
2015 Ramsey Campbell To Wake the Dead, Alone with the Horrors [51]
Sheri S. Tepper The True Game, Beauty [51]
2016 David G. Hartwell Editor of The New York Review of Science Fiction, Tor Books [52]
Andrzej Sapkowski The Witcher Saga [52]
2017 Terry Brooks Shannara series, Magic Kingdom of Landover series [53]
Marina Warner Research and non-fiction works on fairy tales and myths [53]
2018 Charles de Lint Newford series [54]
Elizabeth Wollheim President, co-Publisher and co-Editor-in-Chief of DAW Books [54]
2019 Hayao Miyazaki Co-founder of Studio Ghibli, and animator, filmmaker, screenwriter, author, and manga artist of multiple works [55]
Jack Zipes Academic and folklorist on fairy tales [55]
2020 Karen Joy Fowler We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves, "Always", cofounded the Otherwise Award [56]
Rowena Morrill Science fiction and fantasy illustrations [56]