The world of Israeli science fiction and fantasy literature was celebrated at the 21st annual Geffen Awards ceremony during Tel Aviv’s annual ICon Festival last Thursday.Given by the Israeli Society for Science Fiction and Fantasy every year, the Geffen Awards are among the most prestigious literary awards in science fiction and fantasy. As is the case with many awards, to be nominated is an honor in its own right. This is because the awards are determined by fan votes and support. Simply being nominated means the work must have been read and enjoyed by many readers in Israel. “It means a lot, to know my readers support me and come to vote for me,” Dana Pines, one of the nominees for the Best Original Novel category for her novel The Curse of the Angels, told The Jerusalem Post. “I know of about more than 150 people who came to vote, and it warms my heart. I write for others, to give them a place to escape for a while and find their individual truths within, and the recognition that it means so much for them is even better than winning.”The awards were established in 1999 in memory of editor and translator Amos Geffen, one of the founders of the Israeli Society for Science Fiction and Fantasy, who died in 1998. As a result of this, and the society’s mission to popularize science fiction and fantasy in Israel, it’s no surprise that in addition to original works, the awards also recognize the works of translators who are able to introduce popular science fiction and fantasy works to a Hebrew-speaking audience.The ceremony took place as part of the ICon Festival’s closing ceremonies, which opened with a short speech by this year’s guest of honor, world-renowned fantasy author Brandon Sanderson.Five categories were recognized this year by the awards: Best Original Novel, Best Original Short Story, Best Translation of a Science Fiction Novel into Hebrew, Best Translation of a Fantasy Novel into Hebrew, and Best Translation of a Young Adult Novel into Hebrew.The award for Best Original Novel went to the now two-time Geffen Award winner Keren Landsmen for her novel Heart of the Circle, while the award for Best Original Short Story went to “My Last Dragon” by the now six-time Geffen Award winner Rotem Baruchin. The award for Best Translation of a Science Fiction Novel went to the Hebrew translation of Andy Weir’s novel, while the award for the Best Translation of a Young Adult Novel went to the translation of Rick Riordan’s novel Magnus Chase and the Ship of the Dead.Coincidentally, the winner of the award for Best Translation of a Fantasy Novel went to the translation of Brandon Sanderson’s fantasy-western book Alloy of Law. The book is the first in the author’s Wax and Wayne series, set in his fictional Cosmere universe as part of the overarching Mistborn series – which was originally set to be a trilogy of trilogies, with this taking place between the first two.“This book exists because you guys believed in me,” Sanderson said as he accepted his award. “When I first pitched Mistborn as a nine-book series that would take decades, [the publishers] told me ‘Wow, you’re ambitious.’ But I wanted to do something different that stretched from epic fantasy to space opera, and I expected to be a niche fantasy writer, and never expected to be a bestseller. But then Mistborn took off. I had to write more Mistborn.“This [The Alloy of Law] is a very strange book that I wasn’t supposed to write,” he continued, referring to the story’s origins as a writing exercise for himself that would develop into a soon to be four-book series. “It represents the fandom’s embrace of my crazy ideas.”Sanderson’s books have become more popular in Israel over time, and the author attributes this to the quality of the translations. “The reception in the community is directly correlated to how good the translations are,” he explained.