James Smythe shortlisted for the prestigious Arthur C. Clarke Award

Senior Lecturer in creative writing and fiction, Dr James Smythe has been shortlisted for the prestigious Arthur C. Clarke Award, given for the best science fiction novel first published in the UK.

Posted: 4 May 2016

image for news story James Smythe shortlisted for the prestigious Arthur C. Clarke Award
Dr James Smythe has been shortlisted for the prestigious Arthur C. Clarke Award.

The six shortlisted titles were announced as part of the SCI-FI-LONDON film festival and were selected from a list of 113 eligible submissions, put forward by 41 different publishing houses and imprints.

Roehampton’s Dr Smythe makes his entry with his novel Way Down Dark, his first novel for young adults and the first book in his Australia trilogy. The story follows 17 year old Chan, whose ancestors left a dying Earth hundreds of years ago in search of a new home. Chan makes an extraordinary discovery - a way to return from Australia to Earth.

Commenting on this year’s awards, Tom Hunter, Award Director, said: “When it’s your Award’s 30th anniversary you secretly hope for something that little bit extra special in your shortlist, and I think the judges have delivered on that promise and more this year.

“This is a quintessentially Clarke Award kind of a shortlist. Look once and I’m sure everyone will see a choice they agree with. Look twice and you’ll likely see a new book you want to read next. Look a third time though, and I hope you’ll see how well all of these six books sit together, and how they represent a particular special moment in time for UK science fiction. In other words, like all great books, this is a shortlist that rewards the more you read into it.”

The judging panel features David Gullen, Andrew McKie and Ian Whates from British Science Fiction Association, Liz Bourke from Science Fiction Foundation and Leila Abu El Hawa from SCI-FI-LONDON film festival. The winner will be announced on Wednesday 24th August.

The shortlist in full:

  • The Long Way to a Small Angry PlanetBecky Chambers (Hodder & Stoughton)
  • Europe at MidnightDave Hutchinson (Solaris)
  • The Book of PhoenixNnedi Okorafor (Hodder & Stoughton)
  • Arcadia – Iain Pears (Faber & Faber)
  • Way Down DarkJ.P. Smythe (Hodder & Stoughton)
  • Children of Time Adrian Tchaikovsky (Tor)
Dr Smythe’s debut novel The Testimony won the Wales Book of the Year Fiction Award and his novel, The Machine, was nominated for the 2014 Arthur C. Clarke Award. He teaches on both the undergraduate and postgraduate creative writing programmes at the University of Roehampton.

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