David Gemmell Legend Award report

Friday's glittering ceremony revealed this year's David Gemmell Legend Award winners, reports Sandy Auden [updated photos]

There’s always a small frisson of pleasure when you arrive at the Magic Circle Headquarters and cross from a bleak London back street into a TARDIS-like building with an impressive spiral staircase and a sumptuous auditorium. Tonight accomplished authors, publishing stalwarts, readers and reviewers alike are celebrating fantasy literature in style at the David Gemmell Legend Awards ceremony ( loads more photos here ).

Amongst an abundance of sequin dresses and dickie bows, we briefly catch up with friends before heading to the seats and the ceremony proper. Organiser Anne Nicholls opens with a reading from Gemmell’s popular Waylander , then it’s straight into the auction run by Chris Morgan.

We’re bidding on some unique and fun items, including an original pencil sketch by Didier Graffet and the chance to have your manuscript edited professionally. Everyone is very generous and over £1200 is raised to support the Awards next year.

Stephen Jones and Amanda Foubister take to the stage next to tell everyone about next year's World Fantasy Convention, which is on a rare UK visit in 2013. They also include an update on the in-progress England football match, much to the appreciation of the audience.

A more serious air sets in as artist Chris Baker opens the envelope containing the result of the Ravenheart Award (Best Fantasy Cover Art). And the winner is ... Raymond Swanland for his dynamic cover of Blood Of Aenarion (Black Library). Unfortunately Swanland can’t be there in person due to his passport being stolen on the way to the airport in California but he does send his thanks.

The Morningstar Award for Best Debut Novel is next up, presented by organiser Debbie Miller, with the honours going to Helen Lowe’s tale of magic and conflicting loyalties The Heir of Night . Orbit editor Jenni Hill reads Lowe’s speech, the author saying that the award confirms, "it is possible to be a woman writing epic-heroic fantasy and still have your work read, and taken seriously, by genre readers".

And then it’s time for the Legend Award itself. The accolade of Best Novel is presented by Bragelonne publishing director Stephane Marsan and goes to Patrick Rothfuss for the adventure-packed and beautifully written The Wise Man’s Fear . Gollancz editor Gillian Redfearn accepts the coveted Snaga axe on Rothfuss’s behalf with appropriate thanks expressed and the ceremony concludes.

With a swirl, we’re finishing an enjoyable evening in the bar with canapés and champagne, celebrating, talking and admiring the swords and axes on show from the Raven Armoury. More on tonight's event in SFX issue 225. To find out about the David Gemmell Legend Award visit the official site at http://gemmellaward.com . For more photos, see the SFX Facebook page .

Sandy Auden