Big Lie’s Big Win

Posted on Aug 22, 2016 in Books, Latest

Well, knock me sideways – The Big Lie‘s only gone and won the Sidewise Award 2015 for best Alternate History.

This puts me in a club of past winners including Philip Roth, Stephen Fry, CJ Samson and Michael Chabon. (Which means I can now refer to these fellas as actual friends, I’m pretty sure).


The results of this year’s awards, organised by Steven Silver, were announced at MidAmericanCon II in Kansas City, MO at the weekend.

I couldn’t be there to pick up my plaque but I did send this terrifically eloquent speech that I did not write after a couple of ciders while in Cornwall on a family holiday. Nuh-uh.

“In one of the infinite realities that played out this week I boarded a plane from Heathrow to Kansas City and flew 4,500 miles to join you. But in this particular version of history, I went on my family holiday to Cornwall, UK instead. But I did read Ray Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451 on the beach in your honour, so I hope you’ll forgive me. I don’t think of myself as an author of science fiction or fantasy but writing The Big Lie has enabled me to sneak, somehow, into the sci-fi club. (Through some secret portal perhaps, some mysterious lacuna.) And I like it here a lot. Creating unreal worlds enables a writer to turn an incredibly powerful lens onto the real issues of this very real world. With The Big Lie, it was not my intention to pick over, yet again, the horrors of Hitler’s regime but to pick apart the prejudices and hypocrisies that exist in our democracies today. I’m absolutely thrilled that the Sidewise judges appreciated what I was trying to do in telling Jess’ story of life in Nazi England. Thank you so much for this wonderful honour. Alternate histories teach us that the stories we tell ourselves are not always to be trusted. Challenge your reality. And long may this award continue.”