Pilgrim Award

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The Pilgrim Award was created in 1970 by the Science Fiction Research Association (SFRA) to honor distinguished contributions to scholarship in the fields of SF and fantasy. The award is named for Dr. J. O. Bailey's book, Pilgrims Through Space and Time, a "history and analysis of scientific fiction" that was originally published in 1947 (and based upon his 1934 doctoral dissertation).

A five-member committee appointed by the president of the SFRA selects the Pilgrim nominees and the winner. The committee is reconstituted each year. The physical award consists of a bronze trophy sculpted by Eldon Teftt, one copy of which is housed at the SFRA headquarters in Lawrence, Kansas. Through 1989, the recipient of the award received only a certificate. Beginning in 1990, a bronze plaque with black inset design was designed and presented retroactively to past winners.

Traditionally, the winner gives an acceptance speech at the annual SFRA Conference in July, and recipients of the Pilgrim become honorary SFRA members.

Because the Pilgrim Award is given for a body of work rather than for a specific publication, the Pioneer Award was created in 1990 to honor the best single critical work of the past year (of any length) and also is presented at the annual conference.

Appropriately, the first winner of the Pilgrim Award was Bailey in 1970. Subsequent awards have gone to a variety of scholars and critics, academic and otherwise. The recipients have included Jack Williamson, Damon Knight, James E. Gunn, Brian W. Aldiss, Peter Nicholls, Sam Moskowitz, Neil Barron, Samuel R. Delany, Joanna Russ, Ursula K. Le Guin, John Clute, L. Sprague de Camp, Mike Ashley, Algis Budrys, and Pamela Sargent.

Brian Stableford, H. Bruce Franklin, Carl Freedman, and I. F. Clarke all have won both Pilgrim and Pioneer Awards.

Somewhere along the line, SFRA feeling that "Pilgrim Award" was too easily remembered, renamed it "The SFRA Award for Lifetime Contributions to SF Scholarship."

Award Reasonator 1970
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