Nina Allan


Nina Allan
Nina Allan at Edge Lit 5, in 2016
Nina Allan at Edge Lit 5, in 2016
Born (1966-05-27) 27 May 1966 (age 55)
Whitechapel, London, England
Alma materUniversity of Exeter
Corpus Christi College, Oxford
GenreSpeculative fiction
Notable worksThe Silver Wind and The Harlequin
Notable awardsAeon Award (2007)
BSFA Best Short Fiction (2013)
Grand Prix de L'Imaginaire (2014)
Novella Award (2015)
PartnerChristopher Priest
The Spider's House

Nina Allan (born 27 May 1966) is a British writer of speculative fiction. She has published four collections of short stories, a novella and two novels. Her stories have appeared in the magazines Interzone, Black Static and Crimewave and have been nominated for or won a number of awards, including the Grand Prix de l'Imaginaire and the British Science Fiction Association Award.

Allan was born in Whitechapel, in the East End of London, and grew up in the Midlands and in West Sussex. She studied Russian language and literature at the University of Reading and the University of Exeter, and then did an MLitt at Corpus Christi College, Oxford.

After leaving Oxford she worked as a buyer for an independent chain of record stores based in Exeter, and then as a bookseller in London.[1] Her first published story appeared in the British Fantasy Society journal Dark Horizons in 2002. She lived in the Taw Valley area of North Devon but now lives on Isle of Bute.

Her column "Nina Allan's Time Pieces" appears in Interzone.

Short stories

Nina Allan's stories have appeared in various publications and six "Best of" collections:

  1. Allan's story The Lammas Worm appeared in Strange Tales 3 edited by Rosalie Parker of Tartarus Press in 2010. It was then selected by Ellen Datlow for The Best Horror of the Year: Volume Two. The story was re-printed as part of Stardust:The Ruby Castle Stories.
  2. Her story Flying in the Face of God appeared in issue 227 of Interzone in 2010. It was then selected by Gardner Dozois to appear in The Year's Best Science Fiction: Twenty-Eighth Annual Collection.
  3. The story The Silver Wind originally appeared in issue 233 of Interzone in 2011. It was reprinted in The Silver Wind and The Year’s Best Fantasy and Science Fiction 2012 edited by Rich Horton Prime Books.[2] It was also short-listed for BSFA Awards for (short fiction) 2012.
  4. Her story Wilkolak appeared in issue 11 of Crimewave edited by Andy Cox in 2011. It was selected by Maxim Jakubowski for The Mammoth Book of Best British Crime 10. Constable & Robinson 2013.[3]
  5. Sunshine appeared in issue 29 of Black Static edited by Andy Cox in 2012. It was selected by Rich Horton for The Year’s Best Science Fiction and Fantasy 2013 Prime Books.[4]
  6. Her story The Tiger appeared in Terror Tales of London edited by Paul Finch (Gray Friar Press) in 2013.[5] It was then selected by Ellen Datlow for The Best Horror of the Year: Volume Six.

She has said that all her short fiction to date has been, "a kind of apprenticeship in novel-writing". Her first novel is The Race, which uses the town of Hastings for its landscape, where she was living for most of the time she was writing it.[6]

Nominations and awards

Allan's story Angelus won the Aeon Award in 2007. It was announced at the European Science Fiction Convention in Copenhagen, Denmark in September 2007. The Grand Judge Ian Watson commented that it was “beautifully written and paced and enigmatic yet in an entirely lucid way."[7]

Her novella Spin won the British Science Fiction Association Award for Best Short Fiction for 2013.[8]

The Silver Wind retitled Complications ISBN 978-2907681971 won the French Grand Prix de l'Imaginaire for Foreign Short Fiction in 2014.[9][10]

Her works were short-listed for the British Fantasy Award four times, and her novella The Gateway from Stardust was a finalist for Best Novella in the 2013 Shirley Jackson Awards.[11]

The Race was nominated for the Red Tentacle Award for Best Novel of 2014 at the Kitschies. It was nominated for the British Fantasy Award for best novel of 2014.[12] It was also nominated for the 2014 John W. Campbell Memorial Award for best science-fiction novel.[13]

The Harlequin won the 2015 Novella Award.[14]

The Rift won two awards, the 2017 British Science Fiction Association Award for Best Novel,[15] and the 2017 Red Tentacle Award for Best Novel.[16]

The Art of Space Travel was a finalist for the 2017 Hugo Award for Best Novelette.[17]



  • A Thread of Truth, Eibonvale Press (2007), ISBN 978-0955526800
    Contains the stories "Amethyst", "Ryman's Suitcase", "Bird Songs at Eventide", "Queen South", "The Vicar with Seven Rigs", "Heroes", "Terminus" and "A Thread of Truth".
  • The Silver Wind, Eibonvale Press (2011), ISBN 978-1908125057
    Contains the stories "Time's Chariot", "My Brother's Keeper", "The Silver Wind", "Rewind" and "Timelines: An Afterword". "Darkroom" added as the opening story, "Chambre noire", in the French edition of the collection, Complications.[18] The Spanish edition, Máquinas del Tiempo ISBN 978-8493937997 keeps the original contents.
  • Microcosmos (Imaginings 5), NewCon Press (2013), ISBN 978-1907069475
    Contains the stories Microcosmos, The Phoney War, Chaconne, A. H., Orinoco, Flying in the Face of God and Higher Up.
  • Stardust: The Ruby Castle Stories, PS Publishing (2013), ISBN 978-1848636149
    Contains the stories "B-Side", "The Lammas Worm", "The Gateway", "Laburnums", "Stardust", "Wreck of the Julia" and the poem "Red Queen".
    The stories Angelus, Flying in the Face of God and Stardust are connected as they all involve a Russian astrophysicist called Valery Kushnev.
    Re-issued as Ruby, Titan Books (2020).


  • Spin, The Third Alternative (TTA) Press, (2013) ISBN 978-0955368363

    This is a modern re-imagining of the Arachne myth
  • The Harlequin Sandstone Press, (2015), ISBN 978-1-910124383.
  • The Art of Space Travel, Tor Books (e-book, 2016).


Critical reception

Allan's story Darkroom appeared in Subtle Edens: An Anthology of Slipstream Fiction edited by Allen Ashley Elastic Press in 2008.[19] In a review of the collection Andy Hedgecock wrote that Nina Allan is developing into, "one of the finest stylists of modern genre fiction." He went on to say that very few writers had her talent to uncover, "the strange within the ordinary with such clarity and precision."[20]

Paul Kincaid in reviewing The Silver Wind asks when a series of stories can turn into a novel. He wrote that this was when, "the congeries of stories tell us more than any individual stories can." He suggests that this has been achieved and outlines the links between the stories before concluding that the sum of the parts is greater than the individual stories.[21] One of the links is the viewpoint character Martin who appears in different parallel realities. Sofia Samatar however in her review questioned whether or not there is a danger in Allan's experiment of the emotional force being, "more likely to be lost than gained in the leaps between parallel realities."[22]

In Peter Tennant's 2014 review of The Race he wrote that this was "one of the finest books" he had read that year, but also wrote that he did not know what it was about and could "only hazard guesses." Although a novel, it is, "four self-contained sections that form a greater whole."[23] Sofia Samatar agrees that "The Race guards its secrets." She writes that, this is "a distancing novel about drawing in, a science fiction novel aware of its own artifice, a literary fiction impatient with mimesis."[24]

In Stuart Conover’s 2017 review of The Rift he stated "There are a lot of fun concepts here and a fully crafted alien world which could easily have a completely separate tale told in. Actually, I'd love to Nina revisit this world without even mentioning Selena, Julie, or the events from this book and just have it as connective tissue."[25]


  1. ^ Interview in Rising Shadow
  2. ^ Horton, edited by Rich (2012). The year's best science fiction & fantasy 2012 (2012 ed.). Rockville, Md.: Prime Books. ISBN 9781607013440.CS1 maint: extra text: authors list (link)
  3. ^ Jakubowski, edited by Maxim (2013). The mammoth book of best British crime. London: Robinson. ISBN 9781780337937.CS1 maint: extra text: authors list (link)
  4. ^ Horton, edited by Rich (2013). The year's best science fiction & fantasy 2013 (2013 ed.). Prime Books. ISBN 9781607013921.CS1 maint: extra text: authors list (link)
  5. ^ Finch, edited by Paul (2013). Terror tales of london. [S.l.]: Gray Friar Press. ISBN 9781906331399.CS1 maint: extra text: authors list (link)
  6. ^ As note 1
  7. ^ Aeon Award 2006 -2007
  8. ^ BFSA Awards
  9. ^ GPI Palmares 2014
  10. ^ Interview in Europa SF
  11. ^ 2013 Shirley Jackson Nominees and Winners
  12. ^ Ansible 332
  13. ^ "Gunn Center for the Study of Science Fiction News and Events".
  14. ^ Novella Award 2015
  15. ^ "BSFA Awards". British Science Fiction Association. Retrieved 3 April 2018.
  16. ^ "The Rift". Worlds Without End. Retrieved 10 April 2018.
  17. ^ "2017 Hugo Awards". World Science Fiction Society. 31 December 2016. Archived from the original on 2017-08-11. Retrieved 2017-08-11.
  18. ^ See
  19. ^ Ashley, edited by Allen (2008). Subtle Edens : an anthology of slipstream fiction. Norwich, UK: Elastic Press. ISBN 9780955318191.CS1 maint: extra text: authors list (link)
  20. ^ Interzone 222 page 54 (June 2009)
  21. ^ Interzone 237 page 45 (Nov/Dec 2011)
  22. ^ Review in Strange Horizons Archived 2014-11-08 at the Wayback Machine 28 October 2011.
  23. ^ Interzone 254 page 67 (Sep/Oct 2104)
  24. ^ Review in Strange Horizons 6 August 2014.
  25. ^ Conover, Stuart (6 August 2017). "Book Review: 'The Rift' By Nina Allan". Retrieved 2017-08-06.

 This article incorporates text by Nina Allan available under the CC BY-SA 3.0 license. The text and its release have been received by the Wikimedia Volunteer Response Team; for more information, see the talk page.