Nina Allan

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Photograph: Diana Patient


Assistant: Seren Adams


Nina Allan was born in East London. She studied German and Russian at Exeter University and Corpus Christi College, Oxford, where she completed an MLitt and monograph on madness, death and disease in the fiction of Vladimir Nabokov. With her short fiction appearing in many magazines and anthologies, Nina’s story collection THE SILVER WIND, a meditation on time, memory and the nature of reality was awarded the Grand Prix de L’Imaginaire (France) in 2014. Her debut novel THE RACE, set in an alternate Britain and dealing with themes of identity and loss, was shortlisted for the Kitschies Red Tentacle and the John W. Campbell Memorial Award in 2015. She also won The Novella Award for THE HARLEQUIN. THE RIFT, a tale of two sisters separated as teenagers and reunited in mysterious circumstances twenty years later, was published in July 2017 by Titan Books and won the British Science Fiction Award and The Kitschies Red Tentacle. Nina lives and works on the Isle of Bute, together with her partner the writer Christopher Priest.

Nina's new novel, THE DOLLMAKER, will be published in spring 2019 by riverrun (UK) and Other Press (US).

Praise for THE RIFT (2017):

'[A] bleak but no less beautiful follow-up to The Race, [The Rift] is ostensibly about the mystery surrounding the 20-year disappearance and eventual reappearance of a girl named Julie Rouane, and the pain her family goes through during while she’s missing, and after she’s returned, claiming to have visited an alien world. But rather than get caught up in questions asked by those around Julie, Allan gives her subject a central role and agency in the plot, making her an active participant rather than simply a victim-shaped hole or a walking plot device in others’ lives... Her character journey makes The Rift a wrenching read, offering a “missing person” story with more depth and emotion than the plot normally allows, with a layer of speculative unreality that makes it into something else entirely... Allan refuses to definitively answer the questions posed by her narrative, instead offering us all possible solutions, and allowing us to choose what we think happened. It’s a more honest, realistic exploration of closure than most books offer—there’s no growing out of it, no definitive moment of healing, just people trying to decide for themselves what they are willing to accept.' Barnes & Noble 

'[A] fractured postmodern drama of a pair of separated sisters... Allan crafts mirrored portraits of two women at odds with their own lives coming into a more stable orbit around each other.' Publishers Weekly 

The Rift is a novel marketed in the genre of literary science fiction, however, as soon as I began reading it, it became clear that there were multiple genres at work here: science fiction, mystery, thriller and psychological fiction to name but a few.A novel that asks and raises many more questions than it answers, The Rift is a compelling story of humanity’s existence, of love, loss and the nature of belief. An utterly captivating read.’ Literature Works

'[It] leaves us wondering about the nature of stories themselves.' Chicago Tribune