Review and more: Paul Harland Prijs 2013

This week I dropped up to Holland to visit the Paul Harland Prijs Day, 2013, held in Delft on Saturday, Februari 9 and organized by Martijn Lindeboom.

To see what is going on in the Netherlands. To meet old friends. To see people I only knew online and/or from mention.

This is a quick write-up. If errors and misinterpretations: guilty, not intended, let me know!

Short

It was worth it. To see Paul van Leeuwenkamp and Mike Jansen and the core crew of Holland SF was maybe the biggest reward for old-times sake. To meet Boukje Balder, Rochita Loenen Ruiz, Grayson Bray Morris, Martijn Lindeboom, Jurgen Snoeren, Thomas Olde Heuvelt, Paul Evanby, Peter Schaap and Floris Kleijne was wonderful.

It touched me emotionally. It made me happy to see the changes since 2003 and 1995, the last times I popped my head in.

Panel and workshop

During the same time-slot there was a panel in “room 1” and a writer-workshop, held by Thomas Olde Heuvelt  in “room 2”.

I attended the workshop and missed the panel. The workshop was fun, well given (in Dutch) and short.

The panel — apparently — was very entertaining and gave a lot of info people I spoke appreciated.

In all: fun and awesomeness.

Dinner after

Most people left. Some stayed. We ate. We talked. We left.

The winners

The top 3 are (with my best translation of the titles):

  1. Thomas Olde Heuvelt — The fish in the bottle
  2. Linda Mulders — One second wiser
  3. Jurgen Snoeren — Find/search/seek me between the stars

The W.J. Maryson Talent Award for the best story of authors younger than 30 in which most raw talent comes forward, awards 500 euro and a  talk with an editor of professional publishing house: Meulenhoff Boekerij (also sponsor of this award). The winner is: Sander de Leeuw with: Corvus Ultimus.

The NCSF Premie for the highest ending SF story is sponsored by the “Nederlands Contactcentrum voor Science Fiction” and is 150 euro. This has been awarded to: Jürgen Snoeren with the story “Zoek mij tussen de sterren”.

The Feniksprijs, for the writer who emerged strongest since the previous yearn 2011 and sponsored by Fred Rabouw with 35 euro is won by: Jen Minkman.

Translation from Dutch to English: a fund

Following my rant on: “Why do we stop at the Dutch Border?” in my first open letter to the Dutch SF/F scene and my idea on “we should have an European platform showing European writers” I decided — while writing this post — to donate money and hire a translator to have — at least — ALL price-winning stories by Jurgen, Thomas, Linda, Jen and Sander translated into English: to put them online somewhere for the world to see.

Putting my money where my mouth is.

Amount to be announced. After talking to at least 2 possible (and/or native English) translators. If you feel about this the same way (AND are willing to donate as well) ping me.

There! (Let’s make this shit happen.)

Publication

All (top three?) winning stories will appear in “Wonderwaan” in Dutch, a magazine dedicated to Dutch-language short stories

Review: the now

Right now, Dutch Sf and Fantasy has a solid basis. Even if some of the pillars are wobbly and the usual gossip goes around about “Publisher X being so and so, with editing meh blah blah blah” and “person Y probably blah blah blah”, here is what has changed since 2003.

  1. A dedicated day for Dutch SF/F writers — In the past, the King Kong Award and the Millenium Prijs were a side-event in the yearly NCSF SF and Fantasy convention, held in some shabby and costly Dutch 4 star-hotel.
  2. At least 5 semi-pro publishers — Including Verschijnsel, the Weird Books series (Fantastische Vertellingen) and Silverlicht. Allowing you — as a writer — to be edited and published with a book that looks like a BOOK.
  3. A quarterly SF/Fantasy “stories only” magazine — Called “Wonderwaan” and running for 10 years
  4. The chance to be picked up by a publishing house — In the case of the Paul Harland Prijs: “De Boekerij”.
  5. Three separate prices next to the top 3 awards in the PHP — The Phoenix price, for strongest emerging writer, the W.J. Maryson price for the best young talent and the NCSF price for the best SF strory. Each connected to either money or more guidance.

Review: 2003 and earlier

In 2003, was the last time I showed up, mainly because the whole event around the award was sadness filled with misery.

Back then the Millenium Price (which is the same thing under another name) was part of the NCSF SF and Fantasy Convention held yearly in some place in the Netherlands, in some depressing overpriced and underwhelming 3 or 4 star hotel with ghastly greyish-something carpets and low-ceiling conference rooms.

Until 1990: general, passive nothingness

The award-section was a one-hour event planned in the total program with the announcement of the top-30 stories by story-title, name and ranking, snippets from the jury-reports read by the specific jury member and then (drum roll) the unveiling of the top 3 and the winner.

Once the award-thingy was done, the people would stand (moving chairs) have some brief exchanges (“congratulations with your Nth position” “thank you, you with your Xth”) and on you went to another item on the program, or back home.

Your story then — might — appear in NCSF or SF-Terra or one of the Belgium magazines if you cared to send it. If you did not, nobody would protest.

Babel: 1993 and up — Your story! In a book!

In 2003, publishing house Babel (now Verschijnsel) already published the top 10 or top 20 in three separate books: “Black stars” and “Black souls” and “Black arts” for the SF, Horror and Fantasy stories, doing this from 1993 on, with only a few gaps in a period of over 10 years.

Before that, in 1991, Roelof Goudriaan, as one of the first, published a King Kong Award specific collection on the WorldCon, held in the Netherlands.

Ganymedes

Before that time, until 1987 (if memory serves me) the only way to be published professionally as a Dutch SF and Fantasy was in the yearly “Ganymedes” collection of Dutch short stories, published by A.W. Bruna and edited by Vincent van der Linden.

1990: Rakis, Ator Mondis, the rise of writer-centric publications

Writer-centic publications arised from 1990 on. Jos Weijmer was the first with a quartely stories-magazine called “Rakis” for the very reason that there were NO Dutch, writer centric publications for Dutch (and Belgium) writers. Rakis only appeared for one year, with four issues, but set into motion the birth of “Ator Mondis” in 1991 (published and edited by me, produced by Mike Jansen in year 2 and discontinued in year 3), Publishing house “Babel” the year after, by Roelof Goudriaan and Mike Jansen and “Wonderwaan” by Jaap Boekestein and Marcel Orie in the early 200onds.

Conclusion

Things move slowly. I still believe not enough is happening for Dutch writers, but at least things are still moving forward.

And it was a good day!

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