Cusk, Laing and Robertson vie for £10k Goldsmiths Prize

Cusk, Laing and Robertson vie for £10k Goldsmiths Prize

Rachel Cusk has been shortlisted for the £10,000 Goldsmiths Prize for the third time in four years, while Olivia Laing and Man Booker-shortlisted poet Robin Robertson have also been nominated.

Also shortlisted are Guy Gunaratne, Gabriel Josipovici and Will Eaves.

Picador has taken two titles on the six-strong shortlist with Laing’s first novel Crudo, described by judges as a “novelistic fusion cuisine”, while Robertson is up for The Long Take, a novel in verse “full of undeniable beauty,” a week after he was shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize.

Cusk (pictured) has been tipped for the prize for the third time in four years for her third instalment in the Outline trilogy, Kudos (Faber), with judges applauding her new incarnation of a narrator in literature - she was previously shortlisted in 2014 for Outline and in 2016 for Transit (both published by Cape).

Meanwhile former Man Booker contender In Our Mad and Furious City (Tinder Press) by debut author Guy Gunaratne earned a nomination for “brimming with energy, intelligence and chutzpah” - it was longlisted for the Man Booker in July but failed to make the shortlist last week.

Also shortlisted areThe Cemetery in Barnes by  Gabriel Josipovici from small press Carcanet, offering the “disturbing power of a bad dream”. Will Eaves completes the shortlist with Murmur (CB Editions) which features an Alan Turing-like gay mathematician, a section of which was shortlisted for the BBC National Short Story Award last year..

The 2018 shortlist was revealed on Wednesday (26th September) at Goldsmiths University in south London, accompanied by  the New Statesman/Goldsmiths Prize Lecture, given by Elif Shafak. The lecture is the third in an annual series in which leading authors talk about why the novel matters. Chair of judges was academic Adam Mars-Jones, joined by authors Deborah Levy and Elif Shafak, as well as literary critic and New Statesman columnist Nicholas Lezard. 

The winner will be announced at ceremony at Goldsmiths on 14th November.

Mars-Jones, research professor of creative writing at Goldsmiths, said: “The shortlist for this year’s Goldsmiths Prize, now in its sixth year, offers a tasting menu of all that is fresh and inventive in contemporary British and Irish fiction.

“There’s poetic language here, not all of it in the verse novel we’ve selected, Robin Robertson’s The Long Take. There’s the language of the streets, fighting to be heard, in Guy Gunaratne’s In Our Mad and Furious City and the language of an overmediated world in Olivia Laing’s Twitter-fed Crudo. There’s a harsh view of the past in Will Eaves’ Murmur, restaging the travails of a brilliant gay mathematician modelled on Alan Turing, and a cool survey of the unbalanced present in Rachel Cusk’s hypnotic Kudos, while the deceptively quiet unspooling of Gabriel Josipovici’s The Cemetery in Barnes shows the powerful effects that can be achieved without ever raising your voice.”

The award was launched in association with the New Statesman in 2013 to celebrate the spirit of creative daring associated with the University and to reward fiction that breaks the mould or extends the possibilities of the novel form.

Eimear McBride was the first winner of the £10,000 prize for her work A Girl Is A Half-formed Thing (Galley Beggar Press) while Nicola Barker won last year for H(A)PPY (William Heinemann).

The prize-winner will appear at Cambridge Literary Festival in conversation with culture editor of the New Statesman Tom Gatti and Shafak on 25th November.