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




We See Everything

William Sutcliffe





Deon Meyer, translated by L. Seegers




City of Circles

Jess Richards


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




The Black Tides of Heaven

JY Yang




Mandlebrot the Magnificent

Liz Ziemska




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



The Real-Town Murders

Adam Roberts

Jacket design and illustration by Black Sheep



Our Memory Like Dust

Gavin Chait

Design by Richard Shailer



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. 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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