The Constitution of the British Fantasy Society

This is the current constitution of the British Fantasy Society, as amended by the AGM of 18th September 2022. The previous constitution can be read here.

Preliminary

1.1 The name of the Society shall be ‘The British Fantasy Society’ (A trading name of Brit Fantasy Soc Ltd, Registered company number 10985055, hereinafter referred to as ‘the Society’)

1.2 The objects of the Society shall be:

1.2.1 The promotion of excellence within the Fantasy genre. Fantasy as defined will include Speculative Fiction, Science Fiction, Heroic Fantasy, Horror, Supernatural and related fields. Within the constitution, this will be referred to as the ‘genre”.

1.2.2 Provision of a social club composed of people with a common interest in genre literature and any other genre media, and the encouragement of social interaction between them.

1.2.3 The collection and distribution to its members of news, events and items of interest in the genre.

1.3 The Society shall be run by the Committee which shall be constituted as set out in Paragraph 3 below

2. Membership

2.1 Membership is open to anyone who is eligible and has paid their subscription dues and runs for 12 months from the date of payment unless terminated earlier for breach of the terms of Membership.

2.1.1 Both digital and print memberships are available.

2.2 Subscription fees are set by the Committee and are open to annual review.

2.3 Members may resign from the Society by notifying the Secretary in writing of their intention to do so. No refund of subscription fees will be paid for those resigning their membership.

2.4 It is the responsibility of members to keep the Secretary informed of their current contact details.

2.5 Membership of the Society may be revoked at any time following a vote by a quorum of the Committee. A majority is needed to revoke said membership. A quorum will consist of no fewer than 4 Committee members, at least 2 of whom must serve on the Executive Committee.  In the event of a tie, the final decision will be made by the Society President. If there is no President in place at the time of the vote, then the decision will be made by the Society Chair. Abstentions and absences will not count toward the final tally. In the event of a vote authorising a revocation of membership, the member will receive a prorated refund of their current paid membership within 30 days of the decision. The Society will record the reason for the revocation for future executive committee members but are not obliged to offer a reason for the revocation to the member, although it may choose to do so at its discretion. This revocation process does not apply to elected Executive Committee members, who are subject to the process outlined in paragraph 4.8

2.6 Lifetime digital memberships may be granted to people who have been exceptional in their service to the Society or the wider genre. Lifetime members may pay to upgrade to a print membership. Lifetime memberships may be revoked in the same manner as ordinary memberships. Any member may nominate one other member per year to be considered for Lifetime membership.  The committee will assess all such nominations and bring forward those deemed appropriate to the AGM to be voted on by the assembled membership.

2.7 Committee members (including the Executive Committee members) are given free membership for the duration of their service on the committee and for 12 months thereafter unless their membership has been revoked.

3.The Committee

3.1 The Committee shall be responsible for the running of the Society. Part of the Committee shall comprise the Executive Committee which shall consist of President, Chair, Secretary, and Treasurer as outlined below.  The remainder of the Committee will consist of as many ordinary members as the Chair deems necessary for the administration of the Society’s activities.  Committee vacancies must be advertised to the entire membership when they become available.

3.2 All Committee members must be over 18

3.3 Committee meetings will be held throughout the year, in person or online, at such intervals as the Committee determines to be necessary for the proper running of the Society. Committee members who are unable to attend a meeting will be asked, in advance, to provide a brief written report to the Chair on their area of responsibility. All meetings (including executive committee only Meetings) will be minuted by one of the committee in the meeting and this will be made available to the wider committee. If any part of the meeting contains confidential materials, this can be noted and removed from the minutes so long as the full minutes including such information are retained within the Executive Committee.

3.4 Where possible, all members of the Executive committee must be present at the AGM either in person or by video conference call such as zoom or teams.  Where pre-approved in writing by the Society, the Society will pay for their reasonable expenses in travel to attend this meeting if they were not already attending Fantasycon. This should be taken into account when standing for a position on the executive committee of the BFS.

4. Executive Officers

4.1 Members of the Executive Committee will be elected each year at the Society’s Annual General Meeting. Anyone wishing to stand for election must be a member in good standing of the Society at the time of election and throughout their membership of the Committee. Should there be any doubt as to the standing of anyone hoping to be elected, the membership present at the AGM shall be canvassed on whether to accept their nomination.

4.2 Anyone who has ever been involved in mismanagement of the society, or of Fantasycon, will be barred from standing for election to the Executive Committee and from running Fantasycon. Such a person also may not be appointed to the committee as a volunteer.

4.3 Executive officers will be required to serve as Directors of the Society and therefore anyone who is barred from holding a director position (whether within or outside the UK) may not stand for election.

4.4 Executive officers must complete all necessary paperwork to be registered at Companies House and must agree to the required level of personal liability at the relevant time (currently £1) should the company be wound up.

4.5 Outgoing members of the Executive must agree to resign as Directors of the company within 30 days of no longer being elected to the position and to hand over all relevant files and records to their successor.

4.6 Each Executive Officer as a Director of the Society is jointly and severally liable for the proper running of the Society and the requirement to provide accounts to both HMRC and Companies House.

4.7 A minimum of two Directors are needed for the Society to function.

4.8 If an Executive Officer continually fails to carry out their duties, acts in breach of the constitution, or behaves (whether through act or omission or by becoming involved in any public scandal) in such a way as would bring the Society into disrepute, the wider Committee, along with the other Executive Officers, may hold a vote of no confidence. If a simple majority is achieved, the Committee may call an Extraordinary General Meeting (or raise it at an Annual General meeting if one is planned within 30 days of the vote), at which point the Committee can make their case to the wider membership and the Executive Officer may present a defence. Attendees of the EGM shall vote on whether they still have confidence in the Executive Officer. If the committee calls for a vote of no confidence the chair may not add or remove committee members until after the situation has been resolved.

4.9 If an Executive Committee role becomes vacant between AGMs, the Chair or Secretary will canvas the membership for volunteers to the role. The membership will then be given the opportunity to vote electronically for anyone who has volunteered. This process will be carried out within one month of the role becoming vacant.

4.10.1 The President

The role of President is to represent the Society externally and to adjudicate any disagreement not provided for in the Constitution which the Committee cannot resolve. The President will act as an ambassador for the Society.

4.10.2 The Chair

The Chair sets the corporate direction of the Society and is responsible for the oversight and assistance of all other Committee members where required. The Chair can appoint or remove persons from the wider Committee as they deem necessary for the running of the society with the agreement of the rest of the executive committee.

4.10.3 The Secretary

The Secretary shall be responsible for maintaining a database of members, monitoring annual subscriptions, sending the monthly bulletin and digital publications to members, and for taking and distributing minutes for meetings of the committee and executive committee as well as at the Annual General Meeting. Also ensuring that AGM minutes are available to members if required. At the AGM they will provide a report of the number of current members and a breakdown of the membership for the year, including renewals, new and life members.

4.11.3 The Treasurer

The Treasurer will be responsible for maintaining the Society’s finances, which must be kept separate from any private monies and held in a trust account in the name of the Society which shall be used exclusively for income and expenditure relating to the activities of the Society and shall not be co-mingled with other funds. Two members of the Executive Committee will be signatories to the bank account. The Treasurer will be responsible for submitting accounts as required to Companies House and HMRC, before the relevant deadlines. If the Treasurer is unable to do this, they must inform the Chair as soon as possible to allow the Chair to take appropriate action. The Treasurer will present full accounts to the Executive for approval prior to the Annual General Meeting, along with bank statements, invoices and receipts. A summary of the accounts will be presented to the membership at the AGM, and any member may require an independent audit of the accounts to be conducted by a professional third party at the member’s own expense. Prior to submission to HMRC, the accounts will be verified by an independent accountant who will be paid for this service by society funds.

5. The Annual General Meeting

5.1 Election of the Executive Committee shall take place each year at the Annual General Meeting (AGM) which will be held at Fantasycon barring exceptional circumstances. If there is no Fantasycon in any given year, an AGM must still be held no less than once in each calendar year whether in person or remotely. The AGM will be open to members of the BFS and of Fantasycon, though only fully paid-up members of the BFS will be eligible to vote. Members of the BFS will not need Fantasycon tickets to attend the AGM.

5.2 The committee will take all reasonable steps to allow for online attendance at the AGM. Where possible, electronic voting in advance of the AGM will be allowed. Members attending the AGM online will be able to vote during the meeting. Those who have voted in advance may not then vote again during the AGM on those issues which they have already voted on.

5.3 No later than one calendar month before the AGM, the committee will provide the agenda and any papers the committee are putting forward (such as accounts and constitution proposals). Members may vote online to register their support, or otherwise, of any motions tabled in this way.

5.4 If the AGM is to be held at any time other than as part of Fantasycon, the committee will provide not less than one month’s notice to the entire membership as to the change of time and venue.

5.5 At the AGM, the Executive Officers, along with all committee members, shall each give a progress report. The Treasurer shall present a full Statement of the Society’s yearly accounts.

5.6 For the purposes of the AGM, a quorum will consist of 2 Executive Officers and not less than 20 other members in attendance, either in person or online. The meeting must be quorate at its opening but will remain functional should the numbers change during the meeting.

5.7 Minutes from the AGM will be issued to members via email within 30 days after the meeting.

5.8 Proposed Amendments to the Constitution should be put in writing and forwarded to the Chair no later than six weeks before the start time of the AGM.

5.9 Provided that such amendments are endorsed by at least two other paid-up members of the Society, the proposal shall be submitted for voting at the next AGM and will be included for electronic voting along with any proposals brought by the committee.

5.10 Upon being presented to the AGM by the Chair, the proposal needs to be proposed and seconded by members present at the AGM before being voted on. These can be the members who originally endorsed the proposal, if present.

6. Extraordinary General Meetings

6.1 In the event of circumstances occurring that need to be brought to the general membership sooner than the AGM, then an Extraordinary General Meeting (EGM) may be called to advise the membership. An EGM cannot be called without giving at least 30 days’ notice to the entire membership both on the website and by email to the membership. The reason for the calling of the EGM is not required to be relayed at the time that it is advised, but full details will be given to all attending members upon their arrival at the EGM. Minutes from the EGM will be made available to all members via email within 28 days of the meeting.

7. Fantasycon

7.1 This is intended to be an annual convention run by or in cooperation with the Society.

7.2 Any party wishing to run Fantasycon must send an expression of interest to the BFS Committee This expression of interest must include the proposed team, venue, dates, and pricing structure. They must also set out the financial structure of the event, e.g., who is paying any deposits and covering any losses, how will any profits be distributed. The committee will decide if the expressions of interest are suitable (ie. accessible venue, suitable team, suitable pricing etc). The membership will then be asked to vote on the proposed events.

7.2.1 In the event of no suitable expressions of interest from third parties, or no convention being approved by the membership, the Committee of the British Fantasy Society shall ensure that an AGM and the British Fantasy Award Ceremony takes place.

7.3 Any third party wishing to run Fantasycon will be required to enter into a contract with the BFS.

7.4 The team running the convention will not be subject to election.

7.5 The chair of the convention team will be included on the Society committee and will be required to provide quarterly reports to the committee.

7.6 The AGM of the Society shall be held as part of the Convention’s programming, to which all fully paid-up members of the Convention and the Society shall be welcome. The AGM should be allowed at least 2 hours.

7.7 The British Fantasy Awards (hereinafter referred to as ‘the Awards’) will be presented at the event. The Awards are jointly sponsored by the Society and Convention.

7.8 Members of the society will have a discounted rate to attend Fantasycon.

7.9 The Legends of Fantasycon award will be presented at Fantasycon to an individual or group of people who have contributed significantly to Fantasycon in the current year or historically. The current team running Fantasycon may not receive the award. The team running Fantasycon each year may select the winner of the award and will consult with the BFS committee for suggestions. No current member of the full BFS committee may receive the award.

8. Other Events

8.1 The Society will endeavour to run other events throughout the year, in various locations across the UK. This will include online events.

8.2 These events shall be open to both members and non-members.

8.3 These events may be ticketed. Society members shall be eligible to book free or discounted tickets to the events.

9. The Awards

9.1 The British Fantasy Awards shall be decided by a jury deliberating on a shortlist determined by the members of the Society.

9.1.1. The Jury shall be appointed by the Awards Administrator, subject to approval by the BFS committee. The Jury shall also have oversight powers to add nominations where it identifies an egregious omission. In order to add such nominations, the jury must make a unanimous decision. The addition of a nomination will be made in private.

9.1.2 No one who is eligible to vote may vote for works which they wrote, edited, or published.

9.2 Notes on Eligibility

9.2.1 BFS and Fantasycon publications are ineligible, although their contents (e.g. individual stories, articles and pieces of artwork) are eligible. The “relevant year” throughout this constitution is the calendar year (January to December) preceding that in which the awards are presented. Eligible voters: members of the BFS (the vote of a member whose membership expires after the vote is cast remains valid), members of the previous FantasyCon, and those who have registered for the upcoming FantasyCon.

9.2.2 The Awards Administrator may not own or part-own any works shortlisted in any category. Where the Awards Administrator is associated (either by writing, publishing or editing) a work shortlisted in any category, the Awards Administrator will declare this association to the committee, who will independently verify the votes placed for that work, and that work’s eligibility to be shortlisted.

9.2.3 Where practicable, the awards administrator will allow and encourage members, publishers and other interested parties to contribute to a list of eligible items, to be made available online before voting begins.

9.2.4 If a sponsor of the British Fantasy Awards withdraws from sponsoring one (or more) of the awards, the name of said sponsor will immediately be removed from that award.

9.2.5 All nominated works must fall in the Fantasy genre as defined in paragraph 1.2.1

9.3 CATEGORIES

9.3.1 Fantasy Novel (The Robert Holdstock Award)

Eligibility: fiction over 40,000 words published for the first time in the English language in any part of the world in any format during the relevant year.

9.3.2 Horror Novel (The August Derleth Award)

Eligibility: fiction over 40,000 words published for the first time in the English language in any part of the world in any format during the relevant year.

9.3.3 Novella

Eligibility: fiction from 15,000 to 40,000 words published for the first time in the English language in any part of the world in any format during the relevant year.

9.3.4 Short Fiction

Eligibility: stories under 15,000 words published for the first time in the English language in any part of the world in any format during the relevant year.

9.3.5 Anthology

Eligibility: a collection of work by various authors, published for the first time in the English language in any part of the world during the relevant year. BFS anthologies are not eligible for this award.

9.3.6 Collection

Eligibility: a collection of work by a single author, published for the first time in the English language in any part of the world during the relevant year.

9.3.7 Magazine/Periodical

Eligibility: non-fiction and fiction magazines, print and online, that were active during the relevant year. BFS publications (such as Dark Horizons and Prism) are not eligible for this award.

9.3.8 Audio

Eligibility: A spoken word audio work (e.g. audio book, radio drama, podcast) performed by one or more participants and published for the first time in the English language in any part of the world in the relevant year.

9.3.9 Independent Press

Eligibility: Independent presses active during the relevant year.

9.3.10 Artist

Eligibility: any artist who has produced work during the relevant year. This category covers artists who work in any format. The awards administrator will endeavour to include at least one artist working within the genre in the jury for this award

9.3.11 Non-Fiction

Eligibility: items eligible for this Award include non-fiction books, chapbooks, magazine or online columns or single magazine or online articles. The non-fiction item must have been published in any format (book, magazine, small press or electronic) in any part of the world during the relevant year. The awards administrator will endeavour to draw jurors from bloggers, reviewers and commentators on the genre.

9.3.12 Special Award (The Karl Edward Wagner Award)

The British Fantasy Special Award is known as the Karl Edward Wagner Award. The Award may be presented to individuals or organisations. Eligibility: this Award is not necessarily restricted to an activity in the year prior to that in which the Award is presented. The Award may go to someone who has made an important contribution to the genre or the Society throughout his/her lifetime; or it may go to the organisers of a special event or publication that took place in the relevant year. Recommendations for this Award will be sought from the membership. The BFS Committee will determine the winner of this award. No current member of the BFS committee may receive this award.

9.3.13 The Sydney J. Bounds Best Newcomer Award

The award is for a new fiction writer. The votes can be for a single work or more than one, provided they meet the eligibility criteria set out above. This award is sponsored and funded by the estate of Sydney J. Bounds and the winner will receive a cheque for £100. The winner is decided by a special panel of readers appointed by the BFS and will include representatives from the Bounds estate and the BFS.

10. Winding Up the Society

10.1 If the society is unable to seat a minimum of two executive officers from the membership, or if membership numbers fall so low that the society can no longer meet its financial obligations, then the society can no longer function and must be wound up.

10.2 In such circumstances, all debts will be paid, and any remaining assets will be equally shared between the fully paid-up members on the date of the decision to wind up.

10.3 It will be the responsibility of the outgoing Executive Officers to file all relevant paperwork with Companies House and HMRC, have the final accounts audited by an independent accountant, should the society have funds to pay for it, and make sure that any remaining funds are paid to the membership, as soon as possible after the decision to wind up is made.

11. General

11.1 This Constitution shall replace and substitute all previous Constitutions, revisions and supplements inclding the previous awards constitution.