The award got some good exposure recently, via an article on the Guardian newspaper's website.
In the article, organiser Deborah J Miller explains the reasoning behind the award:
"Most importantly, we wanted to commemorate our friend and colleague, but as we discussed the idea, the realisation of how under-lauded our genre truly is began to hit home," said Miller. "I'm talking about adult Fantasy with a big 'F' here: commercial, loved and bought by millions of readers worldwide. Magic, swords, monsters and heroism – good enough for Shakespeare, good enough for the Odyssey and Beowulf and certainly good enough for JRR Tolkien."
Damn right and good on her for saying so. However, the award won't make any difference to how the genre is perceived by outsiders - regardless of what novel wins - but that shouldn't bother anyone. Personally I couldn't care less what the literati or the mainstream thinks of our genre. They have their tastes, we have ours. Each to his own.
I'm not so enthused about the article writer's summary of David Gemmell's novels:
"His writing typically features a warrior, racked with doubt, who with an eclectic group of companions eventually manages to see off the forces of evil."
That just makes me wince. Feels demeaning, even if it was not meant that way. Plus it's a gross over-simplification of Gemmell's work. Still, no doubt they had a word-limit to work to and probably little working knowledge of Gemmell's novels. The very fact that Gemmell (and the award) are being mentioned on the website of a prominent UK newspaper is good news.