British-Nigerian Author Tade Thompson Wins UK’s Most Prestigious Prize for Science Fiction

Tade Thompson wins the Arthur C Clarke award for science fiction novels

Tade Thompson competed with 124 other novels, the largest number ever submitted for the award, according to The Guardian.

Only 7% of the 125 novels examined for the prize came from people of color. His novel was eventually selected alongside “Frankenstein in Baghdad”, a novel by Iraqi Ahmed Saadawi, who had previously been nominated for the Man Booker International Prize.

Other works selected include “Semiosis” by American author Sue Burke, “Revenant Gun” by American author Yoon Ha Lee, “The Electric State” by Simon Stålenhag’s Swedish novel and “The Loosening Skin” by British author Aliya Whiteley.

Tade Thompson was announced the winner at the awards ceremony held last week in central London. He received a cash prize of £ 2,019 and a trophy.

What is Rosewater?

Tade Thompson’s novel, published in the US in 2016, explores an alien invasion that leaves humanity helpless against microscopic airborne fungal spores.

It is set in 2066 in a town called Rosewater, located on the outskirts of a foreign biodome (closed ecological system) abandoned in rural areas of Nigeria.

This dome only opens once a year and heals all nearby patients. It also gives new life to the dead and offers telepathic skills to select humans. These telepathic people are nicknamed “the sensitives.”

The novel follows the story of one Kaaro, who is forced to investigate after other sensitives begin to die.

Explaining the judges’ decision, Andrew Butler, chairman of the prize judge said, “Alien invasion is always a political subject. Thompson expertly explores the nature of the alien, global power structures and pervasive technologies with a winning combination of science-fictional invention, gritty plotting, and sly wit.”

Thompson’s Rosewater is also a 2017 John W. Campbell Award finalist and was on the Locus 2016 Recommended Reading List. His other work, a novella called ‘The Murders of Molly Southbourne’ has been optioned for screen adaptation.

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