The Gandalf Awards, honoring achievement in fantasy literature, were conferred by the World Science Fiction Society annually from 1974 to 1981. They were named for Gandalf the wizard, from the Middle-earth stories by J. R. R. Tolkien. The award was created and sponsored by Lin Carter and the Swordsmen and Sorcerers' Guild of America (SAGA), an association of fantasy writers. Recipients were selected by vote of participants in the World Science Fiction Conventions according to procedures of the older Hugo Awards.
The awards were presented in two categories, for life achievement and for a book published during the preceding year. Their primary purpose continues to be fulfilled by two of the once-rival World Fantasy Awards, first presented in 1975—specifically the World Fantasy Award for Life Achievement and World Fantasy Award for Best Novel.
Gandalf Grand Master Award
The next four Grand Masters were all members of the SAGA: Fritz Leiber, L. Sprague de Camp, Andre Norton, and Poul Anderson. The last three were Ursula K. Le Guin, Ray Bradbury, and C. L. Moore.
- 1974 - J. R. R. Tolkien
- 1975 - Fritz Leiber
- 1976 - L. Sprague de Camp
- 1977 - Andre Norton
- 1978 - Poul Anderson
- 1979 - Ursula K. Le Guin
- 1980 - Ray Bradbury
- 1981 - C. L. Moore
There was no ballot in 1981. All other winners since Tolkien were among the five or six finalists one year earlier. Others who appeared on the ballot were C.S. Lewis, Jack Vance, Roger Zelazny, Marion Zimmer Bradley, Anne McCaffrey, and Patricia McKillip.
Gandalf Award for Book-Length Fantasy
The Gandalf Award for Book-Length Fantasy was awarded only in 1978 and 1979. Again the inaugural winner was Tolkien: The Silmarillion, brought to print by Christopher Tolkien as editor. The second was The White Dragon by Anne McCaffrey. Fantasy fiction often wins the older Hugo Award for Best Novel, so Worldcon organizers considered the Gandalf to be partly a duplicate and it was not awarded again.
- 1978 - The Silmarillion, J. R. R. Tolkien, edited by Christopher Tolkien
- 1979 - The White Dragon, Anne McCaffrey
- "Lin Carter Dies" (obituary) in Locus, March 1988, p. 69.
- Gandalf Award and subsidiary pages. The Internet Speculative Fiction Database. Retrieved 2011-07-29.
- The Locus Index to SF Awards: About the Gandalf
- The Locus Index to SF Awards: Gandalf Winners by Category
- 1981 Gandalf Award. The Internet Speculative Fiction Database. Retrieved 2011-07-29.