When your email gets a reply that starts: “I’m so delighted to receive your invitation! Thank you so much for thinking of me – I’ve never been invited to be a Guest of Honour before, so this is lovely!”, you know you’ve done the right thing.
Hence it is a great honour and a privilege to introduce our Guest of Honour for Åcon 11 – Tasha Suri!
She is the brand-new British Fantasy Award winner as the Best Newcomer (the Sydney J Bounds Award), who disguises herself as a librarian at day and writes fiction with the rest of her waking hours. Her family comes from India, where her father used to work in Bollywood, which topic is currently the odds-on favourite programming item for Åcon 11. Tasha was born in Harrow, studied English and Creative Writing at Warwick University and currently works in a university in London.
Tasha’s debut novel Empire of Sand is an epic fantasy inspired by India’s medieval/early modern Mughal Empire. When a nobleman’s illegitimate daughter reveals she’s inherited her mother’s rare ability to manipulate the dreams of sleeping gods, she draws the attention of the Empire’s terrifying immortal religious leader. Now she must use all her court-refined will and cunning to survive and stop the awakening gods from tearing the world apart.
Empire of Sand is a great read, a proper fantasy tome that follows the story of our protagonist in a fresh fantasy setting. There’s beauty and magic that will entertain and bound the reader to the spell Tasha weaves.
If that doesn’t convince you, here’s what Zen Cho has to say about Tasha:
“I’ve been recommending Tasha Suri’s EMPIRE OF SAND to anyone who will stand still long enough to listen. Winner of the British Fantasy Award for Best Newcomer and Starburst Magazine’s Brave New Words Award, it’s an impressive debut and a wonderful read – simultaneously a young woman’s coming of age, a ripping desert adventure, a thoughtful exploration of power and colonialism, and a moving romance. Tasha herself is a witty, fascinating panelist, as well as an excellent person to knock back a couple of drinks with. She’s going to make a brilliant Guest of Honour for my favourite con.”