Greer Gilman’s Shirley Jackson Award Acceptance Speech

Thu 10 Mar 2016 - Filed under: Not a Journal., , | Leave a Comment | Posted by: Gavin

Cry Murder! in a Small Voice cover - click to view full sizeOn Sunday, July 13, 2014, Greer Gilman received the Shirley Jackson Award for her chapbook Cry Murder! in a Small Voice at Readercon in Boston.

In celebration of the occasion of sending Cry Murder! back to the printer for a third run we are pleased to reprint Greer’s acceptance speech:

Thank you.

Guess I’m scary.  Who knew ?

I was monster angry when I wrote this.  That — film Anonymous had just come out, and the media was full of its promoters, saying that the glover’s son Shakespeare wasn’t privileged enough to be a writer.  Here:

“Whoever Shakespeare was, he wasn’t a little ordinary yeoman . . . I’m quite certain that he was a quite exceptional aristocrat who had to keep totally quiet and needed Shakespeare as cover.”

“A little ordinary yeoman.”  My little Haitian dressmaker.  My houseboy.

And that? was Vanessa Redgrave of the Workers Revolutionary Party.  As my friend Cathy Butler said, “Scratch a socialist, find an extra from Downton Abbey.”

Shirley Jackson would have laughed.

Look around this room, Vanessa.  We’re all extraordinary.

All of us write.

The Anonymian cult also believes that writers only write about their own quite exceptional lives.  One must be a prince to write Hamlet, a vampire to write Dracula

Let’s stake that conceit, shall we?

I myself have been a ghost, now and then, a whole pantheon of vengeful goddesses, a murder of crows—and I love that I get to be Ben Jonson, in all his fury, his fatness, and his honesty.  I love playing in his world of players, writing poetry and taking names.

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