Congratulations to Ali Smith wins the @Goldsmithsprize

How to be both

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-partIn the light of what we know 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:

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.

How to be both by Ali Smith

How to be bothAli Smith’s book ‘Girl meets Boy’ was incredibly well rated by Leeds readers. Now her new book ‘How to be both’ is a little bit unusual in that there are two versions of the novel. It’s on the Man Booker longlist (it’s 7/1 second favourite behind the Bone Clocks by David Mitchell)  and if you read it,  your version might begin with George,  an eccentric teen mourning the recent death of her free thinking mother, who had previously taken her daughter to Italy to see frescos by Francesco del Cossa.

Or it might begin with del Cossa who in a  time bending way can observe George from a distance. George has a sense of being watched and is obsessed by surveillance. It tells the same story from different perspectives. ……How to be both

‘How to be both is a novel all about art’s versatility. Borrowing from painting’s fresco technique to make an original literary double-take, it’s a fast-moving genre-bending conversation between forms, times, truths and fictions. There’s a renaissance artist of the 1460s. There’s the child of a child of the 1960s. Two tales of love and injustice twist into a singular yarn where time gets timeless, structural gets playful, knowing gets mysterious, fictional gets real – and all life’s givens get given a second chance.’