On Wednesday 5th February, we were delighted to welcome author Tade Thompson to Cheney School to talk as part of the Rumble Museum’s Future Season.
Tade Thompson is the author of the sci-fi novel Rosewater, set in Nigeria in 2066, which won the Arthur C. Clarke Award in 2019. He is also a psychiatrist in Portsmouth, and balances a very busy and demanding job with his writing. Tade talked about he initially developed a love of reading from comics when he was five years old. Since then, he explained how he read widely and extensively, enjoying books like Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein and authors like Charles Dickens, alongside more modern authors such as Peter F Hamilton and Neil Gaiman.
He spoke about how the genre of science fiction enabled an author to, for example, raise political themes, without doing it in an overt way. He also talked about the complicated area of defining the genre of science fiction. His perspective was that both fantasy and science fiction belong under the umbrella of the unreal, but whereas fantasy will break the rules of the universe, science fiction prefers just to bend them without actually breaking them. He explained how science fiction was often viewed as a low-brow genre because “Pulp Magazines” published some very good but also some very bad science fiction, and this had remained in the public memory.
Tade talked about his trilogy Rosewater, though being careful not to include any spoilers. He explained that the novels were essentially about how one group of people, who are more technologically advanced, might have power over a group who are not so advanced, and what might be the reaction to this ‘takeover’.
Tade spoke of the importance of discipline and hard work in developing one’s craft as a writer. He explained how he write every morning for an hour, and that despite the popular Hollywood narratives of writers and other artists being geniuses who were born with their gift and had moments of inspiration, he felt that hard work and practice were by far the most important thing in becoming a good writer.
At the end, a number of students bought copies of Rosewater and had them signed by Tade. We were honoured and delighted to welcome such an interesting author to talk as part of our Rumble Museum Future Season, and very grateful for Tade’s time amidst such a busy week.