Bute author reflects on top science fiction award win

Left to right - Anne Charnock celebrates back on the island with visiting author Matt Hill and Bute authors Christopher Priest and Nina Allan.  Christopher Priest won the 2003 Arthur C. Clarke Award for his novel The Separation.'Photos by Garry Charnock
Left to right - Anne Charnock celebrates back on the island with visiting author Matt Hill and Bute authors Christopher Priest and Nina Allan. Christopher Priest won the 2003 Arthur C. Clarke Award for his novel The Separation.'Photos by Garry Charnock

Local author Anne Charnock has been reflecting on her recent win of the prestigious Arthur C Clarke award for science fiction.

Her novel ‘Dreams Before the Start of Time’, which focuses on changing reproductive science, was hailed as “rich but unshowy” by judges as she picked up the coveted prize at Foyle’s on Charring Cross Road, London, last month.

Anne Charnock  with the 2018 Arthur C. Clarke Award for her novel Dreams Before the Start of Time. Photo by Garry Charnock.

Anne Charnock with the 2018 Arthur C. Clarke Award for her novel Dreams Before the Start of Time. Photo by Garry Charnock.

She said: “I’m over the moon because it’s such a fabulous award to win.

“It was a really fascinating shortlist because it was showing the full range of what science fiction has to offer.

“It was a surprise to win because I knew it was going to be so difficult for the judges to choose a winner from such a diverse list. The ceremony was really well attended. There were lovely speeches by the judges and director.

“I’m especially thrilled because the first winner of the award was Margaret Atwood for the Handmade’s Tale in 1987, so that’s quite a pedigree. For anyone interested in science fiction or speculative fiction, the Handmade’s Tale is one of the stand-out novels to read. It’s a classic.”

Anne believes this could be a pivotal moment for her.

She said: “I think it’s definitely a turning point in my career because it’s such a really prestigious award.

“It will make it easier in terms of when I write a new book I know editors will want to read it. It’s just good to know that people will at least read it.

“Last year was a really good year for speculative fiction so it’s really difficult to reach shortlists like this and you do need some luck. There are many fine novels out there so I was just delighted to make the shortlist.”

Anne was also delighted with her £2,018 prize money.

She said: “The prize money is very timely because I’m planning a trip to China in September so that’s going to help me fund all the train tickets as I’m going by train. First to Paris. Then from Paris to Moscow, on to Kazakhstan then into China.

“It’s quite an undertaking, and it might provide some resources for future writing. Who knows what will come from it.”