The Arthur C. Clarke Award, first given in 1987, is for the best SF novel published in the United Kingdom during the previous year. A panel of experts, whose membership varies from year to year, chooses each year’s winner. The award is administered by the Science Fiction Foundation, of which UK science fiction/science fact author Arthur C. Clarke was patron; the British SF Association; and the International Science Policy Foundation. Each organization appoints two jurors to the panel of experts.
The physical award consists of an inscribed plaque and a prize of 1,000 pounds from a grant donated by Clarke who lived in Sri Lanka, Ceylon, from 1956 until his death in 2008.
Many authorities writing in the field feel that the Clarke Awards came about, at least in part, because only American authors were winning the Hugos and Nebulas each year (although Clarke himself had won both the Hugo and the Nebula before the Clarke Awards were inaugurated, and the British SF Association had been giving out awards for SF writing, principally to UK authors, since 1969).
The Clarke Awards for SF novels should not be confused with other awards that bear Clarke’s name: the Arthur C. Clarke Award for Space Education, the Arthur C. Clarke Award for Technology, and the Arthur C. Clarke Trophy, all associated with achievements in science and technology.
The first Clarke Award went to Margaret Atwood for her novel The Handmaid’s Tale in 1987.