The first yearly fan fund, TAFF followed the second successful fund to bring a fan from overseas to a US Worldcon – the WAW With the Crew in '52 Campaign, which brought Walt Willis from Belfast to the Chicon II. That, in turn, was inspired by the Big Pond Fund, which brought Ted Carnell to Cinvention in 1949.
Afterwards, these examples were generalized to a permanent fund; the planning stages was briefly called British Fan Fund and later Two-Way Transatlantic Fan Fund, but this never caught on. Once TAFF became a going concern, the other major fan funds – DUFF (Transpacific, since 1972) and GUFF (trans-Indian-ocean, as it were, from 1979) – followed its example and practices with similar success, connecting Austral(as)ia into the triangle. However, there were several flareups of TAFF Wars when All Fandom was Plunged into War, most notoriously in 1984–5.
In most alternating years, a European fan (usually, but increasingly often not, from the UK) is chosen to attend a Worldcon in North America. In the following year, a NA fan is chosen to attend Eastercon, the UK national convention. When the Worldcon is held in Europe, one of the races is scheduled so the American winner goes to that Worldcon.
To run, fans on the same side of the Atlantic need to get three nominators from their side and two nominators from the other side to be listed on the TAFF ballot. They also have to post a bond saying that, barring Acts of God, they will attend the designated convention if they are elected, and provide a 100-word platform. The TAFF ballots are distributed via fanzines or over the internet, and handed out at clubs or conventions.
Funds are raised through a required minimum voting fee, donations, and benefit auctions at cons and by mail.
Winners usually get convention memberships comped as special guests and stay at fans’ homes before and after the con, traveling to different fan centers and getting to know fans better in the host country. They are expected to write a trip report: it's not an iron-clad requirement but people grumble if they don’t. It has become a tradition that the reports are delayed many years, so some fan organisations have offered a substantial donation to TAFF for any report finished within five years.
The winners spend the next two years acting as TAFF administrators on their side of the Atlantic, fundraising, publicizing the fund, overseeing the subsequent TAFF elections and helping to arrange the winners’ trips.
- Unofficial but comprehensive TAFF website maintained by Dave Langford since 2005, reproducing ballots and newsletters and voting results for past TAFF races. The site also offers free fannish ebooks, some TAFF trip reports and TAFF Trip Report Anthology (Ansible Editions, 2017) – a compilation of trip reports left unfinished or too brief for separate publication, along with sample chapters from reports still in progress.
- Table of trip reports.
- Clevention PR 4 Article on TAFF.
- TAFF publications online at fanac.org.
- The Trans-Atlantic Fan Fund (N3F Fandbook, 1963).
- No fan from Canada has won TAFF, although a few tried. As for the opposite direction, Britons were sent to two out of four Canadian Worldcons (during TAFF’s existence, in 1984 and 2003), while the 1973 and 2009 trips were eastward.
- The NASFiC is a possibility in years when the Worldcon is held outside NA or Europe. However, this never happened before 2023: there was no TAFF race in 1975 and in 1985, 1999, 2007, 2010 and 2020, the races were always eastward.
- There was a discussion in 1986 whether Eastercon might be a better Platonic expression of the Britfandom spirit, where the TAFF guest was not lost in crowds of Americans who inevitably travel to Worldcons abroad; however candidates expressed preference for Conspiracy '87 over BECCON '87. As European and UK Worldcons happened more frequently, and routes of transatlantic communication were opened by internet and low-cost flights, it has become a de facto rule to run TAFF eastward in such years.
- PDF/MP3 download for £5 going to TAFF.
|From Fancyclopedia 2, ca. 1959|
|The Trans-Atlantic Fan Fund, a fund intended to take Britons to American Worldcons and, alternate years, vice versa. It all began with Shelby Vick's WAW With the Crew in '52 campaign, which undertook to bring Walt Willis over to America, to the ChiCon II, that year. (There had been a predecessor in the Big Pond Fund drives sparkplugged by Ackerman.) Early in 1953 Don Ford and the Cinci Fantasy Group started a fund to bring Anglofan Norm Ashfield to the Philcon II but he was unable to come and Don offered the funds to anyone else Anglofandom should select. At the 1953 Loncon at the Bonnington the idea of a continuing TAFF was brainstormed by Willis, Vin¢ Clarke, Slater, Chuch Harris, Terry Jeeves, Eric Bentcliffe, Norm Shorrock and John Brunner, after long hours of discussion and smokefilled-room sessions.
The original idea was that nominees should be "someone fairly well-known to both British and American fandom" and that voters "should have been active in fandom to the extent of having subscribed to or contributed to at least one fanzine or joined a fan club or organization". Don Ford on this side and Walt Willis on that side acted as administrators -- exchange difficulties making it necessary to have operators on each side of the ocean. Afterward, it was understood that the most recent winners from each side would operate the fund.
So far it's sent over Ken (and Pam) Bulmer, Bob Madle, and Ron Bennett. (Vin¢ Clarke and Lee Hoffman won the egoboo of election but didn't make the trip as TAFFen.) In 1957 circumstances of the election kicked up a flap about definition of a fan which sundered the movement considerably; Madle, the winner that year, had earlier decreased fanac to write for the [ptui!] proz, and a number of people never heard of in fandom before seemed to have voted, despite the requirement noted above. Madle also got some undeserved blame for the antics of another candidate who toured the country offering to pay the token contribution (50¢, or 2/6) for anybody who'd vote for him. Objection to such things, with advice to tighten up the rules, was entered by Chuch Harris and others, but actual rules adopted later (by Madle and Bennett, in September 1958) had the effect of doing away with the voter-requirements and even, by omission, the candidacy requirements. The administrators, however, apparently meant this as a move to quell the argument, since they had previously used their discretion to reject the sort of questionable votes against which protest was made.
|From Fancyclopedia 2 Supplement, ca. 1960|
|Concerning the Ashfield fund: in 1953 Don Ford had a raffle going to raise money for Ashfield's trip to Philcon II. Since it was under way, he didn't want to call it off. Bea Mahaffey took raffle tickets to Willis and Carnell, when she went to the Coroncon in '53; these sold tickets, making it an international affair. Ford then offered the dough to anybody else coming over from England who might be suggested; TAFF was the answer. The raffle (for some covers donated by Carnell and Mahaffey) was conducted at the Philcon II; Ford forgets who the winners were.|
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