News - Stephen King CBA Libris Award
...On 8 June 2007 The Canadian Booksellers Association presented Stephen King with their Lifetime Achievement Award in recognition of his outstanding contribution to the book industry through a remarkable career that has spanned three decades.
Clive was enormously honoured to be asked to speak in support of that award at a Gala Tribute event attended by over 1,000 people.
Following Margaret Atwood's speech, Clive added these, his own heartfelt words of tribute...
"You’re probably all familiar with the notion that appears in science-fiction films and T.V. shows about parallel universes. You know how the basic idea goes: a group of characters, journeying into the past, discover that they have made some error that changes the future. The roads divide. The future comes now in two distinct forms.
"Indulge me for a moment, will you, and allow that such a strangeness is possible. In one of those futures this event is taking place, the same in every detail but for one: the seat from which I just rose is empty. Clive Barker is not a guest at this celebration. In fact, nobody here has ever even heard of him.
"Why? Because I never had a career. I live in England, probably still in my home town, Liverpool. Maybe I am an English teacher. Every now and then I think about the stories I published 25 years ago and wonder about trying to write some more. But the moment has passed. In this future, Clive Barker will live out his days with hundreds of ideas in his head which he never committed to paper.
"This other future – that empty chair – isn’t so far-fetched an idea. When my English publishers put out my first stories, The Books of Blood, they were greeted with a very English silence. Polite and devastating. I don’t know what I was expecting, but it certainly wasn’t this smothering shrug.
"And then, a voice. Not just any voice. The voice of Stephen King, who had made people all around the world fall in love with having the shit scared out of them. He said, God bless him, that I was the future of horror. Me! An unknown author of some books of short stories that nobody was buying. Suddenly, there is a phantom present in that chair.
"Stephen had no reason to say what he said, except pure generosity of spirit. The same generosity he has shown over the years to many authors. A few words from Stephen, and lives are changed forever.
"Mine was. I felt a wonderful burden laid upon my shoulders; I had been seen, and called by name, and my life would never be the same again.
"So, may I take opportunity to thank the man we celebrate here tonight; on my own behalf, certainly, and our behalf of all the other authors whose futures have been transformed by him? I have a chair here because of Stephen, and an audience whose first introduction to my works was brought about because Stephen had recommended me to his immense audience.
"Now I do my best to be a voice for others. To pass the parcel along. As a writer, Stephen has taught me countless lessons in storytelling. But it is the lesson of how to give that echoes most powerfully through my life. And will, I hope, echo on through the lives of others as I support the next generation of writers with my own sincere enthusiasm.
"Thank you for the chair, Stephen.
"From the bottom of my heart, thank you for the chair."
Stephen King Gala Tribute, John Bassett Theatre, Toronto, Friday 8 June 2007