Award: Philip K. Dick Award

Author Philip K. Dick

The Philip K. Dick Award, named for the famous author, is sponsored by the Philadelphia Science Fiction Society (PSFS) and hosted by Northwest Regional Science Fiction & Fantasy Convention (Norwescon). It is presented annually for distinguished science fiction paperback original published in the United States. The five judges must be writers or academics, and they choose their own successor every year.

The book must be a paperback original to be eligible—simultaneous publication in hardcover and paperback makes a book ineligible. While the purpose of this requirement is to promote a “neglected” media, the result is that the Philip K. Dick Award rarely chooses the same books as other science fiction awards, making it an excellent source of quality book recommendations. In addition to winners and nominees, special citations are given to books that stand out among the nominees.


  • There were two winners in 1989, 1993, 2008.
  • The awards are filed under the year of publication, which is the PKD organization’s preference. Some sites use the award date, which is a year later.


? Event Calendar
January 2014


PK Dick nominees
March 2014


PK Dick winner

Origin of the Philip K Dick Award[1]

The Philip K. Dick Awards, for distinguished science fiction books published for the first time in the United States as a paperback original, were founded by Thomas M. Disch, who was inspired to do so at the Norwescon following Philip K. Dick's death at the age of 53 in 1982. I was there, and he asked me to help, and to suggest how the awards should be formed and handled. But the central ideas were his. And so, along with Paul Williams, Richard A. Lupoff, Charles N. Brown, and Russell Galen, and others, I became an administrator. We selected judges and announced the award.

But let me be clear that it was Tom Disch's concepts that formed the award and the rules and procedures, all of which have changed very little since. Tom Disch was in charge from the start, and really ran the awards for the first several years. He asked Norwescon to hold the annual ceremony, and he asked the Philadelphia Science Fiction Society to be the non-profit owner of the Awards, so that we might collect tax-deductible donations. He worked hard and effectively to establish the Awards.

He then (after a dream in which the ghost of Philip K. Dick appeared to him and told him words to the effect that this burden was now lifted from him) turned the head spot over to Algis Budrys, who later turned the awards over to me. Administrators came and went, serving diligently and with no public acclaim. Presently the other administrator is Gordon Van Gelder.

Each year the five judges read as much of the paperback original SF as they can get, or can stand, and then deliberate and choose nominees, that are announced in January each year, and the winners, who are announced in late March or early April at a ceremony at Norwescon. The judges then nominate their own successors. Only writers or academics are eligible to be judges.

—David G. Hartwell


  1. ^Reproduced from with permission granted by Gordon Van Gelder


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