In Osama, Tidhar explores the post-9/11 global subconscious, mixing together elements of film noir, non-fiction, alternative history and international thriller. The book was inspired by a number of close calls the author has had with terrorist attacks.
Tidhar trumped an impressive shortlist including authors such as Stephen King and George RR Martin and was awarded the prize at a gala event held in Toronto this weekend.
South African author Lavie Tidhar has just scooped one of the most coveted and prestigious prizes in genre ﬁction, ahead of top-drawer authors Stephen King and George R. R. Martin. Today his novel OSAMA won the 2012 World Fantasy Award for Best Novel, which was presented to Tidhar at a special banquet in Toronto, Canada. The author moved to South Africa from Israel in 1992. He later became a South African citizen. His brother, Ra’anan Tidhar, is a pilot for the Red Cross in Durban. His parents, Rami and Chaia Tidhar, live in Johannesburg.
Set in a world without global terrorism, OSAMA follows a private detective hired to locate the obscure author of a series of pulp ﬁction novels. These feature one ‘Osama Bin Laden: Vigilante’. On publication the book received exceptional reviews and was the focus of author Christopher Priest’s highly publicised spat with the Arthur C. Clarke award when the judges failed to place it on this year’s shortlist. OSAMA is far more than a genre novel and is now set to reach a much wider audience.
In the novel, Tidhar explores the impact of terrorism in an original, thought-provoking and ultimately deeply moving way. His inspiration came from various close calls. He narrowly missed both the 7/7 London bombings and the 2004 Sinai attacks; he was in Dar-es-Salaam during the American embassy bombings in 1998; and he stayed in the same hotel as the Al Qaeda operatives in Nairobi. The
ﬁnal piece to his literary puzzle fell into place while he was living in Laos, a country where the poppy and all its by-products are considered very precious indeed.
A vocal and provocative figure in the speculative fiction field, kibbutz-born Tidhar is no stranger to controversy and even the occassional death threat. As well as writing novels, he is a proliﬁc short story writer and recently won a British Fantasy Award for his novella GOREL AND THE POT-BELLIED GOD. He lives in London with his wife.
“[OSAMA] …bears comparison with the best of Philip K. Dick’s paranoid, alternate-history fantasies. It’s beautifully written and undeniably powerful.” – The Financial Times
Image courtesy Fantasy Magazine