The Kitschies 2020 Shortlists Revealed.

The year’s most progressive, intelligent and entertaining fiction, sponsored by Blackwell’s.

The Kitschies, the prize for novels containing elements of the speculative and fantastic, have revealed their shortlists for the most progressive, intelligent and entertaining books of 2020.

This year’s shortlisted books have been narrowed down from 177 submissions, coming from 55 publishers. The shortlists come from the largest literary and genre names in publishing to the smallest of independents.

The Red Tentacle (Novel), judged by M.R. Carey, Clare Rees, Mahvesh Murad, Kaiya Shang and Daphne Lao Tong:

–             A Tall History Of Sugar by Curdella Forbes (Canongate)

–             The City We Became by N. K. Jemisin (Orbit)

–             The Lost Future Of Pepperharrow by Natasha Pulley (Bloomsbury)

–             Piranesi by Susanna Clarke (Bloomsbury)

–             The Ministry For The Future by Kim Stanley Robinson (Orbit)

The Golden Tentacle (Debut), also judged by M.R. Carey, Clare Rees, Mahvesh Murad, Kaiya Shang and Daphne Lao Tong:

–             Sharks In The Time Of Saviours by Kawai Strong Washburn (Canongate)

–             The Animals In That Country by Laura Jean McKay (Scribe)

–             The Space Between Worlds by Micaiah Johnson (Hodder & Stoughton)

–             Djinn Patrol On The Purple Line by Deepa Anappara (Chatto & Windus)

–             Raybearer by Jordan Ifueko (Hot Key Books)

The Inky Tentacle (Cover Art), judged by Paul Wiseall, Fleur Clarke, Claire Richardson and Jeffrey Alan Love:

–             The Arrest by Jonathan Lethem, Cover Design by Allison Saltzman and Illustration by Dexter Maurer (Atlantic Books)

–             Little Eyes by Samanta Schweblin, Cover Design by Ben Summers (Oneworld)

–             Monstrous Heart by Claire McKenna, Cover Design by Andrew Davis (Harper Voyager)

–             The Harpy by Megan Hunter, Cover Design by Lucy Scholes and Illustration by Amy Judd (Picador)

–             The City We Became by N. K. Jemisin, Cover Design by Lauren Panepinto (Orbit)

The winners will be announced in a virtual ceremony on Wedneday 21st July 2021, and receive a total of £2,000 in prize money, as well as one of the prize’s iconic Tentacle trophies.

The Kitschies, sponsored by Blackwell’s, is now in its eleventh year. Previous winners include Margaret Atwood, Madeline Miller, Clare Rees, Jan Carson, Nina Allen, Alex Wells, Ahmed Saadawi, Karen Lord, Patrick Ness, Lauren Beukes, Ruth Ozeki, and China Miéville.

Our judges say:

“In this most trying and unsettling of years, reading and judging for the Kitschies has been a source of joy and inspiration for me. I was amazed at the range, ambition and originality of the novels in contention, both by seasoned authors and by newcomers making their debuts. As always, speculative fiction provides perspectives on the world that are surprising, insightful and – in the best sense – revolutionary. Our stories tell us who we are, and these storytellers do it with grace and conviction. It was a privilege to meet them all through their words.”

  • M.R. Carey, Red & Gold Tentacle judge

“The quality of book covers this year was astonishing which made picking a shortlist for the Kitchies 2021 an incredibly tough one. Whittling away from the hundreds of entries, we had to discard some truly beautiful book covers but what we’ve been left with is a stunning shortlist. The book covers that make up the Kitschies 2021 shortlist truly showcase some of the most exciting, entertaining and progressive artwork that should adorn every modern bookshelf. I know I speak for all the judges when I say, we can’t wait to reveal the winner of the Inky Tentacle.”

  • Paul Wiseall, Inky Tentacle Judge

“Each new year promises to deliver an exceptional crop of books to the Kitschies, and 2020 was no different – even given the extraordinary challenges the publishing industry has met over the last 16 months. We were thrilled to received 187 books across the three categories of the award for 2020, and the judges have done an absolutely immense job crafting a set of shortlists that highlight the very best that British publishing has to offer. “

  • Award Directors Leila Abu el Hawa & Anne Perry

About Blackwell’s

Blackwell’s was founded on New Year’s Day 1879, at 50 Broad Street, Oxford. 2021 marks Blackwell’s 142nd anniversary.

From humble beginnings the company has built a worldwide reputation for unrivalled customer service, specialist knowledge and a passion for bookselling. We continue to be a fiercely independent family owned values led business, where putting our customers first is at the very heart of what we do.

Our mission is to become the world’s most trusted bookseller and to change lives through reading and books.

We have eighteen shops, including those in Oxford, Cambridge, London and Edinburgh, alongside those based on university campuses. Blackwell’s also has a thriving corporate, professional and institutional business serving both private and public organisations. Blackwells.co.uk continues to grow rapidly in the UK and internationally. The online platform is designed and managed in-house and is a cornerstone of Blackwell’s multi-channel strategy.

The Kitschies’ 2019 Winners Revealed

The award for the year’s best speculative and fantastic fiction, sponsored by Blackwell’s.

The Kitschies, the prize awarding the year’s most progressive, intelligent and entertaining fiction containing elements of the speculative and fantastic, are delighted to announce 2019’s titles. Previous winners include:  Margaret Atwood, Madeline Miller, Nina Allen, Alex Wells, Ahmed Saadawi, Karen Lord, Patrick Ness, Lauren Beukes, Ruth Ozeki and China Miéville.

The Fire Starters, by Jan Carson (Doubleday) won the Red Tentacle (Novel) category, receiving £1,000 and a hand-crafted tentacle trophy. The prize was introduced by judge Kirsty Logan.

Jelly by Clare Rees (Chicken House Books) won the Golden Tentacle for Debut, receiving £500 and a hand-crafted tentacle trophy. The prize was introduced by judge Alasdair Stuart.

Red and Gold Tentacle judge, Kirsty Logan said:

“Choosing winners from such strong shortlists was a huge task, and we’d happily have awarded all the books prizes! Ultimately, we chose our winners for their ambition, immersive storytelling and refusal to shy away from difficult topics. We felt The Fire Starters right in our bones: it cast a shivering, glittering spell over me and we were changed by having read it. Jelly is a surreal, darkly humorous adventure that leans right into its delightfully weird premise. Congratulations to our winners, our shortlisted writers, and to everyone in the publishing world who was involved in putting out a book last year: your work benefits every reader.”

Tyler Comrie received the Inky Tentacle for cover design for The Memory Police by Yoko Ogawa (Vintage), receiving £500 and hand-crafted tentacle trophy. The prize was introduced by Kim Curran.

Inky Tentacle judge, Kim Curran said:

“While it wasn’t an easy decision, the cover for Memory Police finally clinched it because we felt it perfectly encapsulated what the Kitschies is about. It drew us in with the blend of photographic and sketched illustration and incorporating the title and author into the stamp creates intrigue and hinted at the story, without taking away from the striking simplicity of the cover. Design at its finest”

Award directors Leila Abu el Hawa and Anne Perry said:

“Ten years of handing out Tentacles to the most progressive, intelligent and entertaining fiction has shown us there are authors and publishers, big and small who are not afraid to take risks in bringing everyone the best speculative and fantastic fiction has to offer. Our judges did a fantastic job in putting together an amazing shortlist and the difficult job of choosing the winners. Many congratulations to you all.”

About Blackwell’s

Trading since 1879, Blackwell’s is the largest independent bookseller in the UK. In addition to flagship shops in Oxford, Cambridge, Edinburgh and London, it has a presence on campus at 30 universities around the UK, from Aberdeen to Exeter, complemented by a complete online offering serving customers across the UK and the world at Blackwells.co.uk

About The Kitschies

The Kitschies is a not-for-profit association dedicated to promote the discussion of genre literature in all its many forms. To that end it hosts a range of events and runs an eponymous award each year, celebrating progressive, intelligent, and entertaining literature with an element of the speculative or fantastic. Previous winners include Margaret Atwood, Madeline Miller, Nina Allen, Alex Wells, Ahmed Saadawi, Karen Lord, Patrick Ness, Lauren Beukes, Ruth Ozeki and China Miéville.

Blackwell’s review: Record of a Spaceborn Few, by Becky Chambers

This review was written by Lat Lea, a Blackwell’s bookseller in Oxford

Record of a Space Born Few – This novel by Becky Chambers is the third of three novels (the first is the Kitschies Golden Tentacle-shortlisted A Long Way to a Small Angry Planet and the second is A Closed and Common Orbit)  set in the future, in a fictional universe  that Chambers calls the “Galactic Commons”, i.e. our galaxy and the name of the vast alliance that loosely governs the known intell1gent species in the galaxy.  There are 10 of those, including human beings. Most are technically more advanced, more populous and more powerful than humans.   These other species are a range of physical types, roughly corresponding to various “lower” species on earth, molluscs, crustaceans, insects, birds, apes and so on.   The history of the Solar System is gradually gleaned from the three novels:  as the ecology on Earth declined, wealthy people colonized Mars and partly terra-formed it, whereas those remaining on the home planet eventually built a fleet of spaceships, the Exodus Fleet, and set forth for parts unknown.   At the beginning of the series, humans have been accepted into the Galactic Commons and are gradually spreading out into the galaxy, integrating themselves into the diverse worlds and societies that comprise the “Commons”.

Becky Chambers is astonishingly inventive and more than any other science fiction novelist that I have read, she manages to address the physical, cultural and social implications of her universe.  Plus she has written three novels with quite different plots and themes that nevertheless develop her main idea:  what it means to be tolerant and coexist with other species.  All that could be read as a blue print for future co-existence and tolerance of different races and religions in our current situation.  She considers the technical challenges of communicating across species as well as cultural challenges and she even considers the implications of inter-species sex and love.  That can be seen as an analogy to contemporary concerns about non-gendered sexuality and LBGT issues.  (One glib reviewer called the first novel “science fiction for the Tindr generation”.)   On top of that, one of the other themes is whether AIs are human. In the GC (although they are illegal) it’s possible for an AI to obtain a body.   Can one love an AI especially after it’s in a body, and what is its gender?  

In addition, Becky Chambers explains plausibly and in practical terms a range of technical and scientific questions that any future technology will have addressed.   There are many invented basic technologies, “dent bots” as well as more complex ones, e.g. various forms of interstellar travel and types of spaceships.   All of these are carefully thought through.  Thank goodness:  no fantasy mumbo jumbo in these novels.

This particular novel is set on one ship in the Exodus fleet and is probably the most domestic novel of the three.  It opens with a large explosion on one of the ships in the fleet and then describes the period leading up to the explosion. There’s a family, mother, Tessa, mostly off-ship father, George two boys and small girl. Plus, grandad AKA Pop.  The eldest boy, Kip, is on the cusp of adolescence and accordingly rebellious.  He’s unsure of his future, like anyone his age, but also because the “traditional” society of the Exodus fleet is no longer the only option available to people on the fleet.  They can leave and the fleet is no longer going anywhere; it’s a habitat in space circling around.   Another character, Eyas, is a caretaker, who manages funerals and the disposal of dead bodies, a significant issue on a spaceship.  Plus, there’s Isabel, an elderly archivist on board the ship who is tasked with hosting a Harmagian scholar (a slug like species) who is researching life on the Exodus fleet as a sociologist or anthropologist.  There is also Sawyer, a young man trapped in a dead-end job on a multi-cultural planet who tries to join the fleet, because his family came from it a generation previously, and he believes it will offer him a better, more complete life.

Thus, Record of a Sapce Born Few is about a range of characters, grappling with family life, job responsibilities, aging, living in the same space for generation in a static society, ambition, education and how best to live a good life.  It’s a gentle novel, but then, all three novels are suffused with kindness and sensitivity.

Read it for those qualities but also for the exceptional imagination of Becky Chambers, who uses her Galactic Commons to create an intensely plausible but different future.

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Blackwell’s cover review: “The Book of Joan” by Lidia Yuknavitch


This book was reviewed (for the Inky Tentacle) by Blackwell’s bookseller Aleida Gómez de Caso in Oxford

When I first saw The Book of Joan in the shop I had to pick it up. It was by the till, marked as a recommendation by a fellow bookseller, who pointed out that I was not the only buyer struck by the cover. They say ¨you should never judge a book by its cover,¨ but this one is not just a stunning piece of art, it also represents the book well.

The actual Book of Joan in this book is written on human flesh, the last expression of the self that humans can resort to in this dystopian future where the story is set. After abusing the planet and its resources, humans find the Earth inhospitable and it can no longer be “home” for our species anymore. What´s left of humanity suffers from devolution and, as in Margaret Atwood´s famous dystopia, human´s reproductive systems deteriorate, in this occasion to the extreme point of losing our organs and not being able to procreate at all. Part of what remains of our species follows a totalitarian leader into space whilst the rest try to survive on the decaying planet.

The book is an ode to nature and art. In a world where there the wonders of nature do not exist, and the design of the new world makes other forms of art such as architecture or painting impossible, humans turn to their own bodies to express themselves and create entertainment.

Through skin extension and tattooing, they narrate entire stories on their bodies as well as graphs and symbols. They get rid of clothes and these tattoos cover their decaying bodies, replacing both fashion and social status.

For this reason, I found “The Book of Joan” has a cover that you appreciate twice, for you´ll understand more to it after reading the book. When I first saw it the famous image of the German sci-fi movie Metropolis came to me, and I wondered if the book would also be set in a scarily technological dystopian future. It was, and furthermore I enjoyed the idea of that perfect world living above and slaving the resources of the one underneath, used in Metropolisand so many other fearful projections of the human future.

I also enjoyed the patterns around the V shape of the cover, which after reading the book evoke the almost alien graphs that humans tattoo on their bodies in the story, and reminded me of matter and biological composition as well, for they follow a pattern or structure like chemical elements do. I also appreciate how the typography manages to be at the same time trendy and “alien” looking, effect achieved by changing the shape of the letter “A”.

The colour, not so commonly used in book covers, is striking and modern like the story. The Book of Joan is not only a science fiction book, it tackles gender, sexuality, the human condition and makes relevant reference to climate change, human cruelty or animal experimentation. So this is very much a book of our times and the coming generation, that represents the troubles and ideas that are currently being discussed.

Whether intended by the artist or not, I also associate the cover with totalitarianism, so present in the story. Partly because of the god like look of the one figure at the centre, with its hands shaping a crown; and the Earth and stars above her are shaped into a military style hat. The piece is in line with other Florian Schommer works, like the designs for Mantar and Henfen, beer brands that also benefit from his pattern-like graphs and iconography.

The Book of Joan is a stunning and thought provoking piece of work both outside and inside, worth reading, if possible next to a green area to remind you we are still in time to fight for our planet.

The Book of Joan was Designed by Rafaela Romaya and Illustrated by Florian Schommer

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Blackwell’s review: Record of a Spaceborn Few – Becky Chambers

This review was written by Blackwell’s Bookseller Eris Young at Blackwell’s Edinburgh

Record of a Spaceborn Few is the latest (but not the last!) in Becky Chambers’ Wayfarers series. It follows a handful of humans as they struggle with questions of mortality, community, relationships, home and life beyond the horizons of what we call home.
The lives of the characters interweave loosely in this one, and only touch on the events of the previous two novels, such that initially I found myself hoping characters from the previous books would show up in this new context. But it wasn’t long until I fell in love with the new characters as well: as multilayered, flawed and vulnerable as any of Chambers’ protagonists.
The story, too, takes place largely on a single space station – a tiny geographic area considering the previous two books literally spanned planets. And it’s this limited scale that ironically brings brings home just how expansive and intricate the world of Wayfarers really is. As loosely as the stories told in this book lace into the previous ones, this is unequivocally a Wayfarers novel: it’s told in Chambers’ earnest, “up-lit” style storytelling that is uplifting but never saccharine, and the scale of the story feels utterly organic.
This scale was one of my favourite things about the book. Rather than culminate in a giant dramatic space gunfight, as is the wont of so many books these days, the conclusion to Record of a Spaceborn Few is much more introspective. The biggest, most violent event in the book occurs in the prologue, and sets in motion expanding ripples of internal development for each of the point of view characters. The individual plot arcs are all internal, and the conflicts grow out of what the characters themselves find important and difficult: human connection, community, home, individual fears rooted in past trauma.
This may be a different kind of storytelling than today’s readers are used to, recalling the stories of Ursula le Guin more than, say, Star Wars or Star Trek, but it is, I think, a necessary one. So often the sci fi stories we are told are so wrapped up in large-scale conflicts, wars, ecological disasters, planetary destruction, and so obsessed with glorifying imaginative technology and flashy effects, that we lose sight of the human struggle, the everyday detail and collateral damage of the progress humanity has made in these tales. But these stories, for me, are the more interesting ones.
Record of a Spaceborn Few tells a small story rooted indelibly in a larger world and a collective invented history spanning generations. Chambers once again proves herself a keen student of language and culture, deftly and tenderly portraying the complex and often fraught relationships between her characters, in a book that left me feeling deeply contemplative and ultimately hopeful.

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Blackwell’s review: Tade Thompson – Rosewater


This review is from Euan Hirst, Chief online bookseller for our lovely sponsor Blackwell’s.

Rosewater takes place in Nigeria in the middle of this century. Written in the first person, it jumps back and forth between the childhood, early adult years and maturity, (2032-2066), of the main character, Kaaro. He is a sensitive and able to track people and read minds, due to his interaction with xenomorphs (Greek/Latin neoplasm) that emanate from an alien who first lands in Hyde Park in London and is attacked by the locals. For that read “little Englanders” in a nice topical reference. The alien gets the message and moves himself on to Nigeria.

Rosewater is a settlement in Nigeria that grows up around the alien’s spaceship/dwelling because of the healing properities of xenomorphs that are dispersed once a year in a great outpouring from the alien’s spaceship dwelling, and also dispersed more generally. It is firstly a shanty town and eventually a developed city. The plot revolves around the Kaaro’s early life and then the work he does for a secret police/intelligence agency of the Nigerian government, especially his and the agency’s interaction with the alien.

Although the novel is not in the same realistic science fiction tradition as, for example, the Galactic Commons trilogy by Becky Chambers, it does have many traditional science fiction tropes, e.g. shape-shifting aliens, presumed interstellar travel, and alien invasion. Unlike science fiction in the realistic tradition, it makes little effort to make the science sound plausible.

Rosewater also includes a number of tropes from from crime and thriller fiction: paranoid governments concerned to maintain their own authority, clandestine government agencies with their own agendas, rogue agents within those agencies, plus supra legal behaviour, occasional violence, and universal corruption among regular departments of the government, the ordinary police, the army, elected politicians, members of the business community (Kaaro’s father), gangsters, common thieves and so on. There is even a friendly dog and a salt-of-the earth snack bar owner.

Kaaro is a wise-cracking protagonist, an anti-hero, who claims to be out for himself, but somehow always ends up loosely allied with the good guys, usually, although not always non-governmental characters, and in conflict with the obvious bad guys, usually governmental. His characterisation is also in a crime and thriller tradition of the lone agent, the private eye, cynical and appalled by human behaviour, but nevertheless compelled by an innate morality to act more or less decently.

Kaaro’s banter and jokes are funny and that humour helps enrich the novel and separate it from many thrillers and much science fiction. The author Tade Thompson is of mainly Yoruba descent and so is Kaaro. The context of the novel is almost entirely Nigerian and there are numerous references to tribal affiliation and also jokes and generalizations about some of the other better known ethnic groups in Nigera, for instance Hausa and Igbos. These all seem to presume a local knowledge and a culture that Nigerians will understand and enjoy more than others, but they are non-specific enough that they will be appreciated by any reader. This is the most original aspect of Rosewater. It’s set in Nigeria; it’s about Nigeria and it’s about Nigeria’s future. Except for some popular music, it doesn’t make much of an attempt to include references from Western culture. Aside from the episode in London, it only mentions one other country, the United States, which has built a very high wall around its entire border to exclude the alien and its xenomorphs. Another nicely topical reference.

Rosewater is the first part of a trilogy that is a well nurtured commercial project. Nevertheless setting it in Nigeria, creating a smart aleck protagonist from a different type of genre fiction, and its general witty tone mark it as exceptionally original, and separate from the pack of much other science fiction.

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Submissions for 2018 are now OPEN!

The Kitschies, sponsored by Blackwell’s, literature’s most tentacular prize, are pleased to announce the 2018 judging panel and the opening of submissions for books published in the UK in 2018.

These five individuals will be tasked with finding the year’s most progressive, intelligent and entertaining books that contain elements of the speculative and fantastic. Winners receive a total of £2,500 in prize money, as well as one of the prize’s iconic hand-crafted Tentacle trophies.

The 2018 Red and Gold Tentacle judging panel comprises of Adam Roberts, Lucy Smee, Matt Webb, Sharan Dhaliwal and Daniel Carpenter.

The 2018 judging panel for the Inky Tentacle will be announced soon.

The prize is now in its seventh year, with previous winners including Nina Allan, Ruth Ozeki, Lauren Beukes, China Miéville, Karen Lord, Nick Harkaway, Kameron Hurley and Patrick Ness.

Last year’s winners were Nina Allan’s The Rift (Red Tentacle) and Alex Wells’ Hunger Makes The Wolf (Golden Tentacle), selected from a shortlist that included works by Jess Richards, RJ Barker, JY Yang, and Michelle Tea..

The judges for the Red and Golden Tentacles, for novels and debut novels, are Lucy Smee, Matt Webb, Sharan Dhaliwal, Daniel Carpenter, and Adam Roberts.

Adam Roberts said:

“This is my second stint as a Kitschies Judge and I can only hope that this round is as stimulating and edifying as it was the first time. It’s a real privilege to be able to read so widely in contemporary SF, and hopefully we judges can do our bit to bring the most exciting and progressive SF and Fantasy to a wider audience.”

Last year, The Kitschies received 137 submissions from over 50 publishers and imprints, including self-published books. The prize is open to both digital and physical submissions.

Please see the sumissions and judges pages at http://www.thekitschies.com. for more information about the judges and the prize as well as to get submissions instructions.

Contact:

Glen Mehn & Leila Abu el Hawa
submissions@thekitschies.com

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Winners 2017

The year’s most progressive, intelligent and entertaining speculative fiction, sponsored by Blackwell’s who have set up a dedicated page full of tentacles just for us.

 

 

In a ceremony at the Star of Kings pub in London the winners of the 2017 Kitschies tentacles were announced. The judges commented on the state of genre, the pleasureable tactility of the books, the wonderful and difficult job of judging, and the pleasure of working with the genre community.

2017’s shortlisted books were narrowed down from 142 submissions, coming from over 48 publishers. The shortlists come from the largest literary and genre names in publishing to the smallest of independents.

The Red Tentacle (Novel) winner:

The Rift

Nina Allan

(Titan)

 

 

The rest of the shortlist

 

Black Wave

Michelle Tea

(& Other Stories)

 

 

We See Everything

William Sutcliffe

(Bloomsbury)

 

 

Fever

Deon Meyer, translated by L. Seegers

(Hodder)

 

 

City of Circles

Jess Richards

(Hodder)

The Golden Tentacle (Debut) winner:

Hunger Makes the Wolf

Alex “Acks” Wells

(Angry Robot)

 

 

The rest of the shortlist

How Saints Die

Carmen Marcus

(Harville Secker)

 

 

 

Age of Assassins

RJ Barker

(Orbit)

 

 

The Black Tides of Heaven

JY Yang

(Tor.com)

 

 

Mandlebrot the Magnificent

Liz Ziemska

(Tor.com)

 

 

The Red and Gold tentacle judges were Jon Courtenay Grimwood, Leila Abu El Hawa, Joshua Idehen, Ewa Scibor-Rylska, and Alasdair Stuart

The Inky Tentacle (Cover Art) winner:

The History of Bees

Maja Lunde

Design by Jack Smyth and the S&S Art Department

(Scribner)

 

The rest of the shortlist included

The Land of Neverendings

Kate Saunders

Illustrated by David Dean

(Faber and Faber)

 

Black Wave

Michelle Tea

llustrated by Rose Stafford at Print Club, design by Hannah Naughton

(& Other Stories)

 

 

The Real-Town Murders

Adam Roberts

Jacket design and illustration by Black Sheep

(Gollancz)

 

Our Memory Like Dust

Gavin Chait

Design by Richard Shailer

(Transworld)

 

The Inky Tentacle judges are Dapo Adeola, Sharan Dhaliwal, Jet Purdie, and Stuart Taylor

Blackwell

The winners can be easily found and purchased at any Blackwell’s shop or online. Details can be found on the Blackwell’s dedicated Kitschies website.

 

About Blackwell’s

Blackwell’s began 139 years ago in Oxford and has a worldwide reputation for unrivalled customer service, specialist knowledge and passion for bookselling.  We continue to be a values led business where putting our customers first, taking personal ownership, being professional and having integrity are part of who we are.

We have 32 shops including Flagship shops in Oxford, Cambridge, London and Edinburgh. There are 23 academic and campus shops with strong partnerships with their host universities. We have pop-up bookshops (called Connects) in many other HE UK institutions.

Blackwells.co.uk is growing rapidly in UK and international markets. The platform is designed and managed in-house from a London development office

About The Kitschies

The Kitschies are a not-for-profit association dedicated to promote the discussion of genre literature in all its many forms. To that end it hosts a range of events and runs an eponymous award each year to a range of books, celebrating progressive, intelligent, and entertaining literature with an element of the speculative or fantastic. Previous winners include Margaret Atwood, Karen Lord, Patrick Ness, Becky Chambers, Lauren Beukes, Ruth Ozeki and China Miéville.

 

 

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The Kitschies’ 2017 Shortlists Revealed

The year’s most progressive, intelligent and entertaining science fiction, sponsored by Blackwell’s who have set up a dedicated page full of tentacles just for us.

 

 

 

Every year brings challenges, excitement, and something new: this year was no different. We’re thrilled to see the return of some old favourites as well as voices that mightn’t be considered speculative fiction. The breadth of all three lists is stunning.

–  Award Directors Glen Mehn and Leila Abu El Hawa

London — The Kitschies, the prize for “novels containing elements of the speculative and fantastic” have revealed their shortlists for the most “progressive, intelligent and entertaining” books of 2017.

This year’s shortlisted books are narrowed down from 142 submissions, coming from over 48 publishers. The shortlists come from the largest literary and genre names in publishing to the smallest of independents.

The Red Tentacle (Novel)

 

Black Wave

Michelle Tea

(& Other Stories)

 

 

The Rift

Nina Allan

(Titan)

 

 

We See Everything

William Sutcliffe

(Bloomsbury)

 

 

Fever

Deon Meyer, translated by L. Seegers

(Hodder)

 

 

City of Circles

Jess Richards

(Hodder)

The Golden Tentacle (Debut)

How Saints Die

Carmen Marcus

(Harville Secker)

 

 

Hunger Makes the Wolf

Alex “Acks” Wells

(Angry Robot)

 

 

Age of Assassins

RJ Barker

(Orbit)

 

 

The Black Tides of Heaven

JY Yang

(Tor.com)

 

 

Mandlebrot the Magnificent

Liz Ziemska

(Tor.com)

 

 

The Red and Gold tentacle judges are Jon Courtenay Grimwood, Leila Abu El Hawa, Joshua Idehen, Ewa Scibor-Rylska, and Alasdair Stuart

Jon Courtenay Grimwood, Red/Gold judge, said of the shortlists, “The sheer range and quality of the books submitted for both the gold and red award was dazzling. It was hard enough to pick five and reducing the shortlists to a single winner in each category is going to be near impossible.”

The Inky Tentacle (Cover Art)

The Land of Neverendings

Kate Saunders

Illustrated by David Dean

(Faber and Faber)

 

Black Wave

Michelle Tea

llustrated by Rose Stafford at Print Club, design by Hannah Naughton

(& Other Stories)

 

The History of Bees

Maja Lunde

Design by Jack Smyth and the S&S Art Department

(Scribner)

 

The Real-Town Murders

Adam Roberts

Jacket design and illustration by Black Sheep

(Gollancz)

 

Our Memory Like Dust

Gavin Chait

Design by Richard Shailer

(Transworld)

 

The Inky Tentacle judges are Dapo Adeola, Sharan Dhaliwal, Jet Purdie, and Stuart Taylor

Jet Purdie, winner of the 2015 Inky Tentacle, and Inky Tentacle judge, said “There were loads of gorgeous entries but I felt the selected finalists took the biggest risks, working extra hard to create something original that caught the eye and drew the reader into the story.”

Blackwell’s Blogging

The wonderful Blackwell’s booksellers will be blogging about the shortlist and promoting the books in their shops and social channels. Details can be found on the Blackwell’s dedicated Kitschies website.

The winners

The winners will be announced in a ceremony at The Star of Kings on 9th April, and receive a total of £2,000 in prize money, as well as one of the prize’s iconic Tentacle trophies.

 

The prize, sponsored by Blackwell’s, is now in its eighth year, with previous winners including Margaret Atwood, Tade Thompson, Hermione Eyre, Nick Harkaway, Lauren Beukes, China Miéville, and Patrick Ness.

About Blackwell’s

Blackwell’s began 139 years ago in Oxford and has a worldwide reputation for unrivalled customer service, specialist knowledge and passion for bookselling.  We continue to be a values led business where putting our customers first, taking personal ownership, being professional and having integrity are part of who we are.

We have 32 shops including Flagship shops in Oxford, Cambridge, London and Edinburgh. There are 23 academic and campus shops with strong partnerships with their host universities. We have pop-up bookshops (called Connects) in many other HE UK institutions.

Blackwells.co.uk is growing rapidly in UK and international markets. The platform is designed and managed in-house from a London development office

About The Kitschies

The Kitschies are a not-for-profit association dedicated to promote the discussion of genre literature in all its many forms. To that end it hosts a range of events and runs an eponymous award each year to a range of books, celebrating progressive, intelligent, and entertaining literature with an element of the speculative or fantastic. Previous winners include Margaret Atwood, Karen Lord, Patrick Ness, Becky Chambers, Lauren Beukes, Ruth Ozeki and China Miéville.

 

 

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Become a Tentacle

The Kitschies is seeking help.

Currently, we’re pretty much a one-person-band, and that person has a very full-time day job and theoretically writes in the evenings.

Seeking people who want to spend their time promoting the discussion of genre literature that is progressive, intelligent, and entertaining. Must love some of: dinosaurs, dragons, space pirates, monkeys, explosions, maths, sarcasm, neuroscience, ideas.

Must love tentacles.

You may have a passion and a skill for some or all of the following:

  • Event organising
  • Social media, including picking up the pieces of a flamewar after the awards director has tweeted from the wrong account again
  • Blog writing
  • PR
  • Organising things and people
  • Herding cats AKA judges
  • Other things that you think the Kitschies should be doing

We’re looking for fairly active self-starters who want to get their hands dirty and have fun.

This is a part-time job. This is a volunteer job. This isn’t really a job.

Rewards: meeting nice people, meeting rude people, books.

Email admin@thekitschies.com and let us know who you are and how you’d like to help.

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