Here’s me going on about European fandom again. GUFF, the fan fund ostensibly operating between Europe and Australasia, often ends up actually operating between the UK and Australia. There are been a couple of non-UK winners from the European end, but I don’t think any Kiwis have won. And in the past the visiting Aussies generally went to Eastercon, or a UK Worldcon (an honorable exception being Roman Orszanski’s trip to the Dutch Worldcon). I was delighted last year to see Kylie Ding travel to Finland as part of her GUFF trip. And this year I am even more delighted to be sponsoring a Croatian candidate for the fund.
Mihaela Marija Perković is one of the leading lights of SFera, the Zagreb fan group that staged last year’s excellent Eurocon. I have an interest here, of course, in that Mihaela is one of the people who decided to make me a fan guest of honor at that convention. But she did far more than that. She took me too and from the airport, she put me up in her home, she introduced me to some great Croatian food and drink, she got me onto a chat show on national TV, and we had some great conversations about books. I loved it so much that I’m planning to go back next year.
And my point is that someone who can do all of that stuff is exactly the sort of person you want as a fan fund delegate. Fan funds are all about promoting international fannish cooperation, and Mihaela already has a an excellent track record. Indeed, Zagreb fandom thinks so highly of her as an ambassador that they awarded her a grant so that she could attend Worldcon in Chicago. And she’s a staff volunteer for the forthcoming London Worldcon.
I note also that Mihaela’s sponsors include Carolina Gómez Lagerlöf from Sweden and Cristian Tamas from Romania, so it’s not just me she’s impressed.
I’m also pleased with the trip that Mihaela has planned. She intends to see a lot of Australian, and make it to New Zealand as well. I’m not sure what her husband and little Iggy make of his, and I suspect that Grandma may be involved with the Iggy-minding plans, but it is great to see someone wanting to do a big trip.
If you want to vote, instructions are available here. The voting fee is GBP 5/EUR 6/AUD 8 and these days you can vote by PayPal. The money, of course, goes towards funding the trip.
I should add that the other candidate, Julie McMurray, is a friend, and I have already apologized to her for backing the opposition. I’m sure she’d make a great delegate too. But I owe Mihaela big time, and I’m very keen to see European fandom taking a wider role in the English-speaking fan community.
Finland, yes, you can vote, and it is your turn next (that will be 2015). And Australia friends, I’m sure you’ll find Mihaela as fun to be with as I did.