Just found out that Pantomime won the Bisexual Book Award for the Speculative Fiction category. The book has been lucky enough to be shortlisted for a few other awards, but this is its first win. It feels wonderful, especially for this award. Below is a transcript of the speech I wrote for it. Still a bit amazed that it was read aloud!
“It’s quite a strange thing, writing a speech without knowing if you’ve won, but hoping you have. As you’re all hearing this right now, I guess I have! I am amazed and honored to have won the Bisexual Book Award in the Speculative Fiction category. I’m sorry I couldn’t be there to say this in person, but as I’m terrified of speaking in front of crowds, it’s probably better it’s read by someone else’s steady voice.
When I first started writing, I kept beginning and abandoning books, not quite falling in love with them enough. I dreamt up Micah Grey while at university and fell in love with him and his story. I began a book with him as an adult, and then decided to write a “short story” about him joining the circus in his teens. That short story is now 100,000 words, so I got a bit carried away. Pantomime was the story I most wanted to tell, about a brave character finding himself and coming of age, but who falls between the lines of gender and sexuality.
When I wrote the book, I worried it wouldn’t find a home. I remember reading Malinda Lo’s number crunching of GLBT characters in YA, and how small a slice of the overall publishing pie GLBT characters had already, and how bisexual and transgender characters were an even smaller percentage of that tiny slice. There were no entries for intersex characters at all. But, wonderfully, the book was picked up. And, wonderfully, I have received messages from all around the world from people who connected with Micah and his story. It has been a privilege to hear from bisexual, genderfluid, and intersex readers who have identified with Micah. It has been a privilege to hear that others have said that they learned a little more about gender diversity and sexuality. Micah Grey has found a home in readers’ hearts and minds, and there’s no place I’d rather him be.
Thank you to everyone who helped me along the way: my early readers, my agent, Juliet Mushens, and my publisher, Strange Chemistry Books. Thank you to the bloggers, booksellers, librarians, teachers and readers who spread the word about my books. Thank you all from the bottom of my heart.”
Purchase links if you fancy: