Interview: Lavie Tidhar on the Second World SF Travel Fund

Lavie Tidhar is the World Fantasy Award winning author of Osama, of The Bookman Histories trilogy and many other works. He also won the British Fantasy Award for Best Novella, for “Gorel & The Pot-Bellied God”, and was nominated variously for a BSFA, Campbell, Sturgeon and Sidewise awards. He grew up on a kibbutz in Israel and in South Africa but currently resides in London.

Lavie can be found online at lavietidhar.wordpress.com or on twitter as @lavietidhar.

For this interview, Lavie Tidhar talks about the second World SF Travel Fund, the recipients of which are Csilla Kleinheincz and Rochita Loenen-Ruiz.


CHARLES TAN: Hi Lavie! Thanks for agreeing to do the interview. For those unfamiliar with the World SF Travel Fund, could you tell us what it is about?

LAVIE TIDHAR: It’s a small initiative, to help people involved in genre fiction – writers, editors, translators, bloggers – from outside of the main Anglophone world travel to a major convention. Predominantly, we have been associated with the World Fantasy Convention, which is a more professionally-aimed convention, and can offer the most benefit.

CT: How did it get started?

LT: We wanted to help Charles Tan travel from the Philippines to World Fantasy Con in the United States, where he was nominated for a World Fantasy Award. There was a lot of goodwill from people, as Charles has been a tireless promoter of SF globally, and Philippines genre fiction in particular. We decided that the least we could do is try to raise enough to continue operating, and hopefully help other people in the same way.

CT: Why should genre fans support it?

LT: I hope they do. I think helping to foster a global conversation on SF/F is important for both sides, and we’re trying, in our small way, to help foster that. For many people, travel to the US or those big conventions is vastly expensive, and I think there is a danger of SF becoming insular if it does not open itself up to new voices, outsider voices.

CT: How do you select the recipients of the travel fund?

LT: We generally have several candidates, suggested by the board or from outside, and we make a careful decision over a long discussion, before we pass it for final approval by the Board. The Board is currently made up of Lauren Beukes, Aliette de Bodard, Nnedi Okorafor, Ekaterina Sedia and Charles Tan – a diverse, international group.

CT: Who were the previous benefactors of the World SF Travel Fund?

LT: After Charles, we were approached about helping sponsor Swedish authors Karin Tidbeck and Nene Ormes for World Fantasy in Toronto. We were delighted to help.

CT: Could you share with us more information about this year’s recipients?

LT: Our current recipients are Rochita Loenen-Ruiz from the Philippines/Netherlands, and Csilla Kleinheincz from Hungary. They are both wonderful writers, and Csilla is also a translator and editor in Hungary. Rochita is currently nominated for the BSFA Award for short fiction. I couldn’t think of two better candidates.

CT: Why did you choose Peerbackers as your platform?

LT: Peerbackers seemed a more international forum than kickstarter, and it also allowed us – I think – to raise funds without necessarily hitting the entire target goal. Of course, we hope to reach the goal and would be even more delighted if we pass it, so we can continue to operate and help more people travel in 2014!

CT: What kind of rewards can supporters expect?

LT: Angry Robot Books very kindly offered us e-book bundles – essentially, you get to choose any book you want from the entire Angry Robot catalogue! But we have other publishers on board, like Solaris and Prime, and the higher rewards give you a whole big bunch of e-books – good value for money! We also offer copies of The Apex Book of world SF 1 and 2, and as an exclusive, Aliette de Bodard’s new novella, which is currently only available otherwise as a limited edition hardcover. We will possibly add some more rewards, too.

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