27/04/2011. Contributed by Jessica Martin
Zoo City by Lauren Beukes has been declared the best science fiction novel of the year and the 25th winner of the Arthur C. Clarke Award.
Published by Angry Robot Books, the novel is set in an alternate modern Johannesburg where psychic criminal guilt can take physical animal form and has been described as “Jeff Noon crossed with Raymond Chandler” and a novel that “sinks its claws into you.”
The Arthur C. Clarke Award is presented for best science fiction novel of the year and selected from a list of novels whose UK first edition was published in the previous calendar year.
This is the 25th presentation of the Award, which was first won by Margaret Atwood and The Handmaid’s Tale, and is the 9th time the Award has been won by a female writer.
This year’s prize was presented by author China Miéville, who last year won the Clarke Award for a record-breaking third time with his novel The City & The City.
Speaking about this year’s winning novel, Award Director Tom Hunter said, "I couldn’t be happier for Lauren Beukes and to see Zoo City take the prize for this year’s Arthur C. Clarke Award. I’m also delighted for everyone at Angry Robot Books who are continually proving themselves as one of the most innovative and exciting genre publishers in the UK. This is a great book that promises to inspire both long terms fans of the genre and introduce a whole new readership to the best of science fiction literature.”
Speaking on behalf of the judging panel, Chair of the Judges Paul Billinger said, “The judges should be congratulated on what has been called one of the Clarke Award’s most witty, diverse and daring shortlists. Zoo City is a title that realises the enormous potential of SF literature, and as a piece of social commentary it is unsurpassed in the field.”
Judge and author Jon Courtenay Grimwood added, "Zoo City filters brutal social honesty through a stunning imagination to produce a world recognisably ours and obviously different. The plotting is tight, the characterisation strong and the writing superb. We had a fantastic shortlist but for me this was the clear winner."
The announcement was made at the award’s official ceremony held in London, Piccadilly on the evening of Wednesday 27th April at an exclusive event held as part of the popular SCI-FI-LONDON Film Festival.
The winner receives a prize of £2011 and a commemorative engraved bookend.
The judging panel for this year were:
- Jon Courtenay Grimwood, British Science Fiction Association
- Martin Lewis, British Science Fiction Association
- Phil Nanson, Science Fiction Foundation
- Liz Williams, Science Fiction Foundation
- Paul Skevington, SF Crowsnest.com
Paul Billinger represented the Arthur C. Clarke Award as the Chair of Judges.
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