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Every time I tried to write acceptance remarks just in case, I found myself drafting congratulatory emails to the finalists who aren’t here, and rehearsing what I would say to Theodora Goss, who’s sharing a hotel room with me at the conference. I really enjoyed your book, and I’m honored to have been named on the shortlist in your company. It was something I could say with a full and open heart to all four of them, because I’d read their books, and they were all wonderful in their different ways.

Fortunately, Dora insisted that I should prepare some remarks, because you never know.

I got to hear Jo Walton — the Guest of Honor and a previous winner of this award and, most to the point, a writer whose work I admire tremendously — give the announcement that the Rugosa book had won.

So here I am with my award trophy, the Aslan. Tomorrow morning I fly home. Aslan is on the move!

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