The 1998 Skylark award, administered by Michael A. Burstein on behalf of NESFA, was presented at Boskone 35 to James White. Hal Clement announced the award, and presented the trophy to Bruce Pelz, who accepted it on behalf of Mr. White, who was not in attendance. The trophy was carried to him by Geri Sullivan, who not only delivered the trophy, but was able to surprise him with the news of the award.
After the trophy was delivered, they sent the following e-mail to NESFA, which was read during the March Business Meeting.
Date: Sun, 8 Mar 1998 20:46:22 +0000
From: Geri Sullivan
Subject: "...more rare than a Hugo..."
Dear Mark, Bruce, Michael, and NESFAns everywhere,
I'm sitting in The White House kitchen, here in Portstewart, Northern Ireland, or "Norn Iron" as James always calls it. It's been just 24 hours since I presented James with the Skylark, and he's still croggled. Delightedly so, but still croggled.
[JW] Shouldn't that be crottled, as in crottled greeps? But either way, it means that I'm seriously chuffed. Seriously, though, it also gave me a weird, prickly but very pleasant feeling at the back of my neck because I was suddenly reminded that nearly 50 years ago, in SLANT 4, my first published words were a defence of Doc Smith when I inserted in a columnist's criticism, without editorial consultation, the words, "These opinions of the great Smith are not those of the typesetter, J. White." I've never changed those opinions even though E E Smith went out of favour for a while. Now, incredibly, you've presented me with the Skylark trophy, an award which I consider to be much rarer and personally more satisfying than a Hugo. I promise not to set my coat on fire but I may use the lens as a reading glass because it is large enough to enable me to read a whole line of type in a paperback. Why did Kimball Kinnison never think of this?
In the light of the above information regarding my first published words, I thought that my complete file of SLANT would find a good home with NESFA, and I have asked Geri, who is much more dependable than the postal authorities, to see that it gets to you safely. [GFS: James' complete run of SLANT, with the first words he ever published, stunning multi-colour covers, and lovely typography. See that it gets *where* safely? Bwahahaha!]
You will notice that the illos are dreadfully over-inked, but that was because in those days I was interested in good pictures and the words were unimportant. Oh, well, times change.
In case I didn't say so already, thank all you guys very much for this honour. After being a Worldcon GOH and all, I didn't think there was much nice left that could happen to me, but I was wrong. I'm having a really wonderful life. It's rough, but somebody has to live it.
[GFS] Peggy and I took lots of pictures, both of the Skylark presentation itself, and of the typing of this message. I'll send a batch your way after they're developed, and you can put any you like on your web page. Peggy is as seriously chuffed as James is, and I'm deeply appreciative of the opportunity to have been part of all this. *Thanks!*
I'll be back at James and Peggy's Monday morning, and will pick up e-mail around 10 am Norn Iron time, so will be able to share any immediate responses with James then.
Davey, do you and Chip want to pick up the SLANTs when you come to Minicon? Or would NESFA perhaps consider making Toad Hall a remote annex of the NESFA clubhouse?
All the best to all of you!
James White & Geri Sullivan
NESFA accepts with enormous gratitude the gift of the SLANTs, and thanks our newest Skylark winner for his generousity.
Boskone photos provided by Davey Snyder