The Goldsmiths Writers’ Centre and the New Statesman revealed this year’s Goldsmiths Prize shortlist nominees on 14 October 2020. Mr. Beethoven by Paul Griffiths; A Lover’s Discourse by Xiaolu Guo; The Sunken Land Begins to Rise Again by M. John Harrison; Meanwhile in Dopamine City by DBC Pierre; The Mermaid of Black Conch by Monique Roffey; and Bina by Anakana Scholfield are in the running for the annual £10,000 prize.
The Goldsmiths Writers’ Centre established the literary competition in 2013 to recognize new and experimental works of fiction that break from the traditional characteristics of the novel. Eimear McBride snagged the first Goldsmiths Prize in 2013 for her novel A Girl Is a Half-formed Thing. Past winners also include Ducks, Newburyport by Lucy Ellmann in 2019; The Long Take by Robin Robertson in 2018; and H(A)PPY by Nicola Barker in 2017.
Biographer, critic and Goldsmiths, University of London lecturer Frances Wilson will chair the judging panel. The remaining panel members include novelist Will Eaves, writer and Goldsmiths Prize 2016 shortlist nominee Sarah Lapido Manyika and writer and columnist Chris Power. The judges will award the prize to the book they deem the most innovative and the one they feel best represents the fiction genre.
On 24 January Wilson told Goldsmiths: “It is a privilege and a pleasure to be chairing the judges in the eighth year of the Goldsmiths Prize. I look forward to immersive reading, invigorating arguments and a renewed understanding of what the novel at its finest can achieve.”
Novels contending for the Goldsmiths Prize must meet a set of criteria. They must be novels published between 1 November 2019 and 31 October 2020 by a UK or Republic-of-Ireland based publisher. The authors must also be citizens or three-year residents of the UK (Great Britain and Northern Ireland) and the Republic of Ireland and the story must be written in English.
Readers with an iPhone can download the Goldsmiths Prize App and learn more about this year’s nominated books, as well as watch interviews and readings. They can also check out the fresco in Ali Smith’s How to be Both, the Goldsmiths Prize winner in 2014 and read pages from the manuscript and original draft of Eimear McBride’s A Girl is a Half-formed Thing, previously mentioned winner of the first Goldsmiths Prize in 2013.
The Goldsmiths Writers’ Centre and the New Statesman will host the Goldsmiths Prize 2020 ceremony and reveal the winner on 11 November 2020. For updates and content follow the Goldsmiths Prize twitter account: @GoldsmithsPrize.