Tade Thompson was announced the winner of the Arthur C. Clarke Award 2019 for his novel Rosewater on July 17, 2019.
The Arthur C. Clarke Award for Science Fiction Literature is the most prestigious award for science fiction in the United Kingdom. Previous winners, established with a generous grant given by Sir Arthur C. Clarke, have been Margaret Atwood, Geoff Ryman, and Ian R. MacLeod. The only African winner so far has been Lauren Beukes in 2011 for her book Zoo City; Nnedi Okorafor made the shortlist in 2016.
The six books shortlisted for the 33rd Arthur C. Clarke Award were Semiosis by Sue Burke, Revenant Gun by Yoon Ha Lee, Frankenstein in Baghdad by Ahmed Saadawi, The Electric State by Simon Stålenhag, Rosewater by Tade Thompson, and The Loosening Skin by Aliya Whiteley.
Tade Thompson was announced the winner at a public award ceremony at the Foyles flagship bookshop on Charing Cross Road, London, UK. The award comes with a cheque for £2019.00 and the award itself, a commemorative engraved bookend.
Rosewater, which is Thompson’s second novel, follows Kaaro, a government agent and a “sensitive,” meaning he can read the thoughts and emotions of other people. He lives in Rosewater, Nigeria—a community at the edge of an alien biodome rumored to have healing powers. When Kaaro learns that others like him are being killed off, he must search for an answer, facing his own dark past and coming to a realization about a horrifying future.
Dr Andrew M Butler, Chair of the Judges, said of winning the book: “alien invasion is always a political subject, and Tade Thompson’s debut novel Rosewater 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.”