Karen Joy Fowler and Karl Ove Knausgaard have made the shortlist for the biennial £25,000 Warwick Prize for Writing.
On the shortlist of six, revealed by judge Robert Macfarlane at the Cheltenham Literature Festival, is We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves by Karen Joy Fowler (Serpent’s Tail); Her Birth by Rebecca Goss (Carcanet); Redeployment by Phil Klay (Canongate); A Man In Love by Karl Ove Knausgaard translated by Don Bartlett (Harvill Secker); Lila by Marilynne Robinson (Virago); and Skyfaring by Mark Vanhoenacker (Chatto & Windus).
The prize, founded in 2009 and run by the University of Warwick, is an international cross-disciplinary award, open to any genre or form of writing. The theme for this year’s prize is ‘Instinct’, the interpretation for which has been diverse, with short stories, poetry and prose all represented.
Karen Joy Fowler’s We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves and Marilynne Robinson’s Lila are said to “grapple with the unescapable legacy of atypical childhood experiences”, while the residual effects of trauma are explored through the loss of a child in Rebecca Goss’ Her Birth and the horror of war in Phil Klay’s Redeployment.
Karl Ove Knausgaard’s A Man in Love, from the autobiographical fiction series My Struggle, and Mark Vanhoenacker’s love letter to commercial aviation Skyfaring round off the list.
In addition to winning a £25,000 monetary prize, the winner will be rewarded the opportunity to take up a short placement at the University of Warwick.
The judging panel for the 2015 prize is chaired by Warwick Associate Professor, alumna and author A L Kennedy, who is joined by author and academic Robert Macfarlane, actor and director Fiona Shaw, Warwick alumnus and Lonely Planet founder Tony Wheeler and physician and writer Gavin Francis.
Chair of judges, AL Kennedy, said: “The judges were excited by this year's chosen topic of instinct, its variety of interpretations and expressions. We are delighted by the shortlist and the ability of all the authors included to work within their chosen forms, to explore the full breadth of human nature and experience. We feel all the authors included offer readers unique and rich experiences, quality writing and the consolation of real contact with other, remarkable minds.”
The winner will be announced on 10th November.