All great works of literature either dissolve a genre or invent one’ (Walter Benjamin)
‘I have laid a plan for something new, quite out of the beaten track’ (Laurence Sterne)
Novel, n. Something new (OED)
Ali Smith has won the Goldsmiths Prize, which is worth £10,00 and is awarded for “boldly original” fiction for her two-part novel ‘How to be both’ (she lost out to Richard Flanagan on the shortlist for this year’s Man Booker.)
Winning the The Goldsmiths prize made it two wins in two days as Ali also won the Literary Book of the Year award at the Saltire Literary Awards on 11th November.
Francis Spufford, chair of the judges said: “We are proud to give this year’s Goldsmiths Prize to a book which confirms that formal innovation is completely compatible with pleasure – that it can be, in fact, a renewal of the writer’s compact with the reader to delight and astonish.”
Ali Smith said “I can’t believe this is happening. I think I might be making it up,” before thanking publisher Simon Prosser and publicist Anna Ridley.
Others shortlisted were:
- Rachel Cusk – Outline
- Will Eaves – The Absent Therapist
- Howard Jacobson – J
- Paul Kingsnorth – The Wake Unbound
- Zia Haider Rahman – In the Light of What We Know
The award was created by Goldsmiths, University of London, in association with the New Statesman, to recognise published fiction “that opens up new possibilities for the novel form.” The inaugural winner was Eimear McBride’s A Girl is a Half-Formed Thing and it was the first prize for the author ahead of her Baileys, Desmond Elliott and Kerry Group Irish Novel of the Year victories.