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Media centre home > News > Professor wins major prize for first foray into sci-fi


A university professor, better known for her works of historical and contemporary fiction than her works of fantasy, has had her latest book named 'best science fiction novel of the year' in the genre's biggest literary awards.

Jane Rogers, professor of writing on Sheffield Hallam University's post-graduate writing course, and who taught author Marina Lewycka, won the Arthur C Clarke Award 2012 for her novel The Testament of Jessie Lamb. The novel was also longlisted for the Man Booker Prize in 2011.

Professor Rogers said: "I’m delighted by this award. Good science fiction is good literary fiction, with the bonus that it deals in big ideas, and I am honoured to be in the company of the Clarke Award’s previous winners."

Published by Sandstone Press, with a new edition due from Canongate in July, the novel is set in a near-future world suffering from the aftermath of biological terrorism, and the release of the MDS (maternal death syndrome) virus. Narrated by 16 year old Jessie Lamb, the novel follows her decision to volunteer for an experimental programme to carry an immune embryo to term, a choice she can’t survive.

Arthur C Clarke Award director Tom Hunter said: “The Testament of Jessie Lamb is a fantastic novel and I’m thrilled to have it join the Clarke Award’s winning list of best science fiction books of the year.

"A big part of our role at the award is to listen out for all the buzz and chatter around the books being submitted, and it was fascinating to watch the positive word of mouth for the book spreading across the science fiction community over the past year; something I hope will only continue to grow now that Jane Rogers has won this year’s award.”

The award ceremony took place in Piccadilly, London on Wednesday 2 May as part of the SCI-FI-LONDON Film Festival.

For press information: contact Joe Field in the University’s press office on 0114 225 2074 or email