William Heinemann has landed two titles on the Goldsmiths Prize shortlist, while Will Self and Jon McGregor have both been nominated for the £10,000 award.
The Cornerstone imprint has H(a)ppy by Nicola Barker and A Line Made by Walking by Sara Baume in the running alongside contenders from independent publishers; Kevin Davey's Playing Possum from libertarian socialist alternative publisher, Aaaargh Press, and First Love, published by Granta and written by Gwendoline Riley.
The Man Booker-longlisted Reservoir 13 (Fourth Estate) by McGregor also appears alongside Self’s Phone (Viking) on the shortlist which was revealed on Wednesday evening (27th September) at Goldsmiths university in South East London.
The announcement followed the New Statesman/Goldsmiths Prize Lecture which Ali Smith gave on the ‘Art of the Novel’.
The shortlisted works were selected by judges Naomi Wood, Kevin Barry and A L Kennedy, along with writer, singer and songwriter, Tracey Thorn for “embodying the spirit of invention that characterises the novel genre at its best”.
Wood, author and lecturer in creative writing at Goldsmiths discussed a “wildness” to the novels. She said: “Our six shortlisted books offer resistance to the received idea of how a novel should be written.
“Variously, they break the rules on continuity, time, character arcs, perspective, voice, typographical conventions and structure. As such, there is a wildness to all of our shortlisted novels that provokes in the reader a joyful inquiry about just what a novel might be there to do.”
Culture editor of the New Statesman Tom Gatti said: “It’s an exciting time for British and Irish fiction and, as other literary awards look across the pond, it’s vital that the Goldsmiths Prize continues to celebrate bold, ambitious novels from these shores.”
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”. Works by authors from the UK and Republic of Ireland are eligible for the award.
Eimear McBride was the first winner of prize for her novel A Girl Is A Half-formed Thing (originally published by Galley Beggar Press). Last year Solar Bones by Mike McCormack (Tramp Press), a book written in a single novel-length sentence, scooped the prize.
The winner of the £10,000 prize which “rewards fiction at its most novel” will be announced at a ceremony at Foyles in central London on 15th November.