Central Station wins 2018 Neukom Institute Literary Arts Awards in Speculative Fiction

To my considerable surprise, Central Station picked up an inaugural Neukom Institute Literary Arts Award, for works “that explores the ways in which computational ideas have an impact on society.”

Here’s the full press-release:

Neukom Institute Announces Winners Of Speculative Fiction Awards

Books Depicting Human Diversity And Emotional Capacity Win Inaugural Honors

HANOVER, N.H. – May 16, 2018 – The Neukom Institute for Computational Science at Dartmouth College has awarded the inaugural 2018 Neukom Institute Literary Arts Awards in Speculative Fiction. The awards go to three works of fiction that demonstrate that the future can be imagined as something other than a slick, techno-dystopia.

In the category of debut speculative fiction, the award goes to “Best Worst American” by Juan Martinez(Small Beer Press, 2017). The co-winners of the inaugural prize in the open category are “Central Station” by Lavie Tidhar (Tachyon Publications, 2016) and “On the Edge of Gone” by Corinne Duyvis(Amulet/Abrams, 2016).

“We are proud to have a list of award winners that features such thoughtful artistic visions of the future, both near and far,” said Dan Rockmore, director of the Neukom Institute. “We all wrestle with the uncertainty of the future, that is what makes speculative fiction such an important and necessary genre, and that is what makes each of these works so special.”

Among the award winners is an adult novel set in a future version of Tel Aviv, a young-adult novel with an autistic protagonist on a ship destined to depart Earth, and a short story collection set largely in the surrealist landscape of Las Vegas. With all of the differences in narrative approach, the books share a willingness to imagine a future containing love and acceptance rather than solitary heroism against dystopian collapse.

“These books prioritize valuable human relationships as prods to improvement of technologically and scientifically complex futures,” said Maria Dahvana Headley, the principal judge for the 2018 awards program. “The works are warm and hopeful, and they point to the true nature of science, one in which solving human problems and failings is the goal, not shrinking the need for human engagement.”

The award winners each receive a $5,000 honorarium and will participate in an event at Dartmouth that will include a panel on the speculative fiction genre.

Lavie Tidhar, co-winner in the open category for “Central Station,” said: “Writing Central Station, I was finally able to put into form many of the ideas on the future – of people, of machines, of communication – that occupied me since first loading a command line prompt, and since the first time I heard the siren call of a modem. I’m honored to be among the inaugural recipients of the Neukom Institute Literary Arts Awards.”

Corinne Duyvis, co-winner in the open category for “On the Edge of Gone,” said: “This was a highly personal book for me to write, and for it to receive an honor of this magnitude is thrilling both professionally and personally.”

Juan Martinez, winner in the debut author category for “Best Worst American,” said: “I’m thrilled, humbled, and tremendously happy. I’m a huge fan of the writers on the shortlist, and it was a surprise to find myself in there; it’s an even bigger surprise to be among the winners.”

The Neukom Institute Literary Arts Awards program was announced last year as an open competition to honor and support creative works around speculative fiction. The inaugural playwriting award announced earlier this year was given to Jessica Andrewartha for her play, “Choices People Make.” Andrewartha’s play navigates a near-world future dominated by artificial intelligence, but that also struggles with the real-world issues faced in today’s society.

In addition to the top book honors awarded to Martinez, Duyvis and Tidhar, the Neukom Institute recognized eight other books by placing them on the inaugural award shortlist.

“All of the books recognized by the awards embrace the potential for a future involving the flesh-and-blood skills of empathy and tenderness, while still expanding on technical capacity,” said Headley.

A call for submissions for the 2019 Neukom Literary Arts Awards will be announced later this year.

“The best speculative fiction is brave enough to crystallize the possibilities of the future into beautiful and human stories that we can live with in our imaginations before we actually have to live in them. I can’t wait to see what next year’s participants dream up,” said Rockmore.

For a full list of award-winners, shortlists and additional information, please see: http://sites.dartmouth.edu/neukominstitutelitawards/spspeculative-fi…on-award-winners/


About Dartmouth

Founded in 1769, Dartmouth is a member of the Ivy League and offers the world’s premier liberal arts education, combining its deep commitment to outstanding undergraduate and graduate teaching with distinguished research and scholarship in the arts and sciences and its three leading professional schools: the Geisel School of Medicine, Thayer School of Engineering and Tuck School of Business.

About The Neukom Institute for Computational Science at Dartmouth College

In an age in which all forms of knowledge and experience can find their way to the computer, computation is central to many of the investigations and innovations that range across the humanities, arts, and sciences. The mission of the Neukom Institute for Computational Science at Dartmouth College is to support this broad view of computational investigation across Dartmouth’s campus, and to catalyze creative thought throughout the Arts and Sciences, Engineering, Medicine, and Business, for undergraduates, graduate students and faculty.



Cover Reveal for Unholy Land

Last week, the B&N Blog revealed the new cover for Unholy Land, as well as some details of the book…

The cover is by Sarah Anne Langton, who also, of course, did the BSFA Award winning cover of Central Station. Here it is!

unholy land cover

And here is the blurb:

The author of the critically acclaimed, Campbell Award-winning Central Station returns with a subversive new novel evoking The Yiddish Policemen’s Union and The City and the City.

When pulp-fiction writer Lior Tirosh returns to his homeland in East Africa, much has changed. Palestina―a Jewish state established in the early 20th century―is constructing a massive border wall to keep out African refugees. Unrest in the capital, Ararat, is at fever pitch.

While searching for his missing niece, Tirosh begins to act as though he is a detective from one of his own novels. He is pursued by ruthless members of the state’s security apparatus while unearthing deadly conspiracies and impossible realities. For if it is possible for more than one Palestina to exist, the barriers between the worlds are beginning to break.

Announcing CANDY!

So the news is out – my next novel is the middle grade detective adventure Candy, published by Scholastic UK in June 2018. That’s less than two months away!

(You can pre-order it from Amazon if you’re so inclined).

It’s been a strange old journey – frankly, it’s a huge relief just finally being able to mention it! The book pre-sold in a number of countries, so there are several editions coming out this year in addition to the UK one. It’s been a bit of a roller-coaster!

It’s been fantastic working with Scholastic too, especially my amazing editor, Sophie, and I adore the cover and internal illustrations by Mark Beech – I can’t wait for people to see them!

I think Candy may well appeal to grown-ups as well as children – I’ve certainly tried to do that! – and it’s also, it seems to me, my most accessible book – it’s fast-paced and fun, while still dealing with some big themes.

The full announcement from my agent’s below, and the cover!


Due to be published on June 7th, 2018, Scholastic have described the novel as ‘Charlie and the Chocolate Factory meets Bugsy Malone for 9+ readers’. In CANDY, Lavie has created a thrilling, chocolate-mad world that leaps from the page, and his distinct voice and deployed film-noir style perfectly suit the action. He has created a brilliantly accessible and inspiring heroine in Nelle Faulkner, a determined, clever girl willing to follow any lead to get to the bottom of a complex conspiracy.

Here is the blurb:

In a city where candy is a crime and biscuits have been banned, Nelle Faulker is a 12-year-old private detective looking for her next client.

So when a notorious candy gangster asks for her help, Nelle is on the case.

Swept into a secret world of sweet smugglers and chocolate crooks, can Nelle and her friends find a way to take the cake? Or will they come to a sticky end…

The Scholastic edition is lavishly illustrated with internal black and white art by Mark Beech, who also provides the cover (above, full-wrap below).

The novel has been hotly anticipated, with foreign rights pre-sold in Italy to Mondadori in a five-figure deal (at auction), in Germany to Loewe (also at auction), in France to Bragelonne, in the Czech Republic to Argo, in Poland to Zysk and in Romania to Nemira. Further deals are anticipated.

Lavie said: ‘I can honestly say I feel like a kid in a candy store! When I set out to chronicle the adventures of Nelle and her friends, I never dreamed of the level of interest the story would generate. I can’t wait to finally hold CANDY in my hands!’

This is Lavie’s first book for children, following a string of award-winning novels for adults that saw him scoop the World Fantasy Award, among others.

Central Station shortlisted for Neukom Prize

Rather to my surprise, Central Station has been shortlisted for the inaugural Neukom Institute Literary Arts Award, for “Speculative Fiction works that explore the ways in which computational ideas impact society.”

Very cool!

Here is the full shortlist (awards are presented for both a debut work and an established writer):

2018 Neukom Institute Literary Arts Awards Shortlist of Books:
“After Atlas” by Emma Newman (Roc, 2016)
“Best Worst American” by Juan Martinez (Small Beer Press, 2017)
“Central Station” by Lavie Tidhar (Tachyon Publications, 2016)
“Children of the New World” by Alexander Weinstein (Picador, 2016)
“Made for Love” by Alissa Nutting (Ecco/HarperCollins, 2017)
“New York 2140” by Kim Stanley Robinson (Orbit, 2017)
“On the Edge of Gone” by Corrine Duyvis (Amulet/Abrams, 2016)
“Six Wakes” by Mur Lafferty (Orbit, 2017)
“Telling the Map” by Christopher Rowe (Small Beer Press, 2017)
“Using Life” by Ahmed Naji (UT Press, 2017)
“Void Star” by Zachary Mason (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2017)

New 3-book deal with Tachyon in US

This was posted last week, so I guess it’s official! I have a new 3-book deal with Tachyon in the US – they did an amazing job on Central Station, so when it came to it, it was an easy decision… Tachyon will be published Unholy Land in October this year, followed next year by a novel called The Circumference of the World, which is a big, messy, ambitious manuscript that I’ve been working on for a long time. My long-time collaborator Sarah Anne Langton is designing the cover for Unholy Land at the moment.

In addition(!) – and this is something I’ve been hoping for for a while – Tachyon will issue The Violent Century in a US paperback edition. The novel was previously published in hardcover by Thomas Dunne in the US, and I’m delighted to finally bring it out in a more affordable paperback edition. No fixed date for that one yet.

I won’t say too much about the books at this stage, but will have more details (and a cover!) on Unholy Land very soon.

I may as well also say that this is only one of two book deals I signed recently, and news of a new novel, coming out imminently, are, well, imminent! The other book is a different kettle of fish altogether, so more on that soon. In the meantime, here is the full press release from Tachyon.

In October 2018, Tachyon are due to publish Tidhar’s UNHOLY LAND, a subversive new novel in the vein of Michael Chabon’s The Yiddish Policemen’s Union and China Miéville’s The City and the City. In 2019, Tachyon will bring out Tidhar’s THE CIRCUMFERENCE OF THE WORLD, a science fictional noir/mystery centered around a book that disappears each time it is read. Tachyon will also reprint Tidhar’s widely-praised THE VIOLENT CENTURY.

Tidhar’s previous novel with TachyonCENTRAL STATION, received the Campbell Award and was shortlisted for the Clarke and British Science Fiction awards.

“We’re extremely pleased to be working with Lavie Tidhar again,” said Tachyon’s publisher Jacob Weisman. “Lavie is an extraordinary writer and a great fit for our line of literary science-fiction.”

Lavie is also the author of the World Fantasy Award-winning OSAMA, the Jerwood Fiction Uncovered Award-winning A MAN LIES DREAMING, the critically-acclaimed Bookman Histories trilogy, and many acclaimed short stories and novellas.

Philip Kerr, 1956-2018

I was shocked at the sudden news last night that Philip Kerr died. I did not know him well but I knew him some and, more to the point, I simply liked him. I guess I kind of assumed we’d run into each other again sooner or later and catch up and now, sadly, I know we never will.

Back in 2011 I was living back in London, having spent five years away. It was winter, I was in a hastily rented apartment that was freezing cold, and the whole weight of how things have changed in my absence hit me. The world I came back to wasn’t the one I’d left. It was poorer, darker, and full of new nationalist and right-wing forces right out of history, suddenly stirring up again.

Naturally, I went to the library to catch up on the the new Bernie Gunther novels I’d missed. I think it was in one of the Cuban ones that Kerr has a throwaway line about how Adolf Hitler could have become a private detective. Later that night, I had the blinding realisation that if anyone could pull something as ridiculous and offensive as that off, it might just be me… and then I spent the next couple of years trying very hard not to write that novel.

However, at some point I finished The Violent Century and nothing else seemed to work and so one night I sat down and wrote the first sentence of what would become A Man Lies Dreaming, in which a hardboiled Hitler roams the streets of 1939 London, while a British fascist runs for Prime Minister on a platform of anti-immigration…

I had a two book deal with Hodder at the time and, thankfully, they accepted the novel for publication in late 2014. Around that time, I got an invitation to a small German convention in Leipzig, and to my delight I discovered one of the other guests was none other than Philip Kerr.

We met. I got to tell him how his book inspired mine. We kind of hit it off. He was funny, candid (I can’t repeat most of the stuff he told me), full of ridiculous yet no-doubt true stories – the time he was a guest of the KGB and they made him an honorary colonel; the time a NATO general sent an honour guard and a helicopter to escort him to some gig; the time he worked with De Niro… (“Did I mention that already?” – “You did, but I think that’s fair enough.”)

The last day of the convention we all had dinner at the Aurebachs wine cellar, where Goethe wrote Faust. We missed most of our dinner as we were taken on a tour of the cellar and the giant wine barrel that Faust was said to have ridden on. I was strangely gratified when the whole visit ended up as a paragraph in The Lady of Zagreb where Bernie’s having a dream:

I once visited the famous Aurebachs Keller in Leipzig where [Goethe] spent most of his student years drinking wine, and felt an affinity with the man that I’ve felt for no other. Then again, it might just have been all those pictures on the wooden walls of Faust drinking with Mephistopheles. I’ve often felt an affinity with him, too. […] for a moment I was drinking in the medieval cellar’s subterranean depths; then I was astride a wine barrel as big as a bull and riding out of the door and up into the marketplace…

Kerr and Me 2014 Leipzig.jpg

Me and Philip Kerr, a little mellow after a few glasses of German wine, Leipzig 2014.

Back in London, I sent him a copy of my book. Phil was kind enough to blurb it. He came to my launch event at Hatchards, which he approved of (“It’s where I hold all my launch events”, he said), then he ran off to watch the football with an unnamed Russian billionaire.  It was the sort of thing he did.

The last time I saw him we had lunch in Wimbledon, near where he lived. He wanted me to work on a book with him, which I couldn’t do and now kind of wish I did…

Then life got in the way and from time to time I thought of dropping him a line and then didn’t. I wish I did that too, now. But he was so young! And full of energy, and he could take out his laptop anywhere and any time and just start writing. At least I have a new Bernie Gunther book to read, still…

I’m gutted. It’s just – I liked the guy.

During one of our chats, Phil mentioned an idea that was so ridiculous, he said I was more than welcome to have it. It was a bit out there even for me, though it’s stuck in my mind ever since and, well, now Phil’s not around maybe I should try to write it anyway, in his memory. I think he would have laughed if I ever did do it.

He’s gone, which is hard to believe. At least the new Bernie Gunther novel, Greeks Bearing Gifts, is just about to come out, and Frederick the Great Detektive sounds amazing, too. Phil’s going to be around for a while.

And besides, I refuse to believe he’s really gone. I prefer to think he just did what Bernie did – he changed his name and got a new identity and now he’s laughing at all of us somewhere in South America, where he is no doubt still getting into trouble.

I think I’ll stick with that version, for a while at least.