McCormack's Solar Bones wins the Goldsmiths Prize

McCormack's Solar Bones wins the Goldsmiths Prize

Solar Bones by Mike McCormack (Tramp Press), a book written in a single novel-length sentence, has won the Goldsmiths Prize 2016 for "boldly original fiction”. 

The £10,000 award, which recognises fiction "at its most novel”, was awarded in a ceremony at Foyles on Charing Cross Road this evening (9th November).

McCormack’s novel, about a ghost, was praised as an “extraordinary work" for its stream-of-consciousness narrative as well as a "moving and compelling read". It follows the recollections of a man named Marcus Conway, a middle-aged engineer from the west of Ireland briefly returned from the dead on All Soul’s Day, November 2008.

McCormack is the fourth winner of the prize founded in 2013 by Goldsmiths, University of London, and held in partnership with the New Statesman, and the third Irish writer to win since the prize began. Formerly an author at Jonathan Cape, his previous works include Getting it in the Head (Vintage), Notes from a Coma (Jonathan Cape), which was shortlisted for the Irish Book of the Year Award, and Forensic Songs (Soho Press). 

Chair of the judges Professor Blake Morrison, who was joined on the panel by writers Erica Wagner, Bernadine Evaristo and Joanna Walsh, said: “Set over a few hours in a single day, and told in the first-person voice of a middle-aged engineer, Mike McCormack’s Solar Bones transcends these seeming limits magnificently.

“Politics, family, art, marriage, health, civic duty and the environment are just a few of the themes it touches on, in a prose that’s lyrical yet firmly rooted. Its subject may be an ordinary working life but it is itself an extraordinary work."

New Statesman culture editor Tom Gatti said: “The New Statesman is delighted to continue to grow its partnership with the Goldsmiths Prize, which, with Solar Bones, has once again shone a spotlight on a thrilling piece of writing from out of left field. For those who care not only about the state of the novel but its future, this prize is essential.”

Solar Bones overcame competition to win the prize from Transit by Rachel Cusk (Jonathan Cape); The Lesser Bohemians by Eimear McBride (Faber and Faber); Like a Mule Bringing Ice Cream to the Sun by Sarah Ladipo Manyika (Cassava Republic); Hot Milk by Deborah Levy (Hamish Hamilton); and Martin John by Anakana Schofield (And Other Stories). An initial 111 works were submitted for the 2016 prize.

Goldsmiths Press this week launched a free-to-download promotional app for the Goldsmiths Prize that expands the worlds of its previous prize-winners. It so far includes interactive content for 2014's winner How to Be Both (Harvill Secker) by Ali Smith and inaugural winner A Girl is a Half-formed Thing (Faber & Faber) by Eimear McBride, in addition to video clips of readings from shortlisted authors, profiles for "fantasy" prize titles, authors and judges.