On March 17, Gene Wolfe will be honored with the first Fuller Award, acknowledging his lifetime achievement to literature, at the Sanfilippo Estate, outside of Chicago, by the Chicago Literary Hall of Fame.
Needless to say, I will be there.
Also present to honor Wolfe will be Neil Gaiman, Peter Straub, Michael Dirda, Luis Urrea, Audrey Niffenegger, Jody Lynn Nye, Patrick O’Leary, and quite probably others. Peter Sagal, host of NPR’s news quiz show Wait Wait … Don’t Tell Me!” will be the toastmaster and the master of ceremonies will be Gary K. Wolfe.
Which is to say that I'll be hanging with exactly the sort of people I hoped I'd be associated with when I was a gonnabe writer, many decades ago.
That's not why I'm going, however. I'm going to pay homage to the man who is the greatest living writer in the English language alive today. I'd say "in the world," but I can only read the one language. In that language, however, I am confident. I have read the works of every writer who might conceivably be a contender and, while I am of course floored by the virtues of their work, Gene is simply the best our culture and civilization (such, as H.L. Mencken would have said, as they are) can boast of.
And he's a science fiction and fantasy writer! How wonderful! It's like discovering that the best writer in the world lives next door. He could have lived anywhere and written anything. But he chose to hang out with us. That's just damned cool.