It is with great pleasure that the Australian Science Fiction Foundation announces the A. Bertram Chandler Award for 2020 goes to Dr Gillian Polack.
Gillian first encountered fandom in 1979 at a Melbourne University Science Fiction Association meeting. As so many do, she immediately gravitated towards their library. She later became more active and attended her first convention in Canberra. Gillian has been a Canberra fan since 2002 and was on the Conflux committee for seven years, organizing historical banquets, being part of the small team running the Conflux online minicon for several years, as well as convening and judging the short story competition. She was a co-convenor of Flycon, the first international online Science Fiction convention and was the GUFF winner in 2014, attending the 72nd Worldcon in London. She published her trip report, Gillian’s Book of Lists.
Gillian instituted the popular historical banquets at Conflux where she researched and tested recipes with the help of fellow fans. At Aussiecon 4 she was awarded the Best Achievement Ditmar for the Conflux Southern Gothic banquet along with her team and produced a related recipe book Five Historical Feasts, (Conflux/Eneit Press, 2011). She has introduced people to historical and science fiction inspired food and many fans have had their first (and possibly last) interaction with the joys of dehydrated portable soup at one of her panels. At the 2017 Worldcon in Helsinki, she introduced many con goers to Australian bush tucker and her home-made Medlar liquor is a wondrous delight that has been known to make an appearance at room parties.
Many conventions and fanzines have turned to Gillian for assistance when needing material to complete their publication in a short timeframe such as Andromeda Spaceways Inflight Magazine, Steam Engine Time, various Continuum con books and Worldcon con books or to sub-edit Australian Speculative Fiction when Donna Hanson was out of commission. Other publications include SFSignals, Wisconsin Chronicles, Strange Horizons and SF World along with reviews for Horrorscope, ASIF and SF Commentary. She has also published multiple short stories and novels for which she has been nominated for Ditmars and been listed in the Years best listings by Ellen Datlow and Gardner Dozois. She is the editor of the Baggage anthology (2010) and co-editor of Masques, (2009). She spent four years judging the Aurealis awards. Recently she won the 2020 Best Novel Ditmar award for her book, The Year of the Fruit Cake.