Nicola Barker, Sara Baume and Will Self feature on the Goldsmiths Prize 2017 shortlist

We are delighted to announce that three inventive Penguin Random House books have made the shortlist for this year's Goldsmiths Prize. They are:

The £10,000 prize awards 'fiction at its most novel' with the shortlist being chosen by a judging panel made up of chair Naomi Wood, writers Kevin Barry and AL Kennedy, and writer, singer and songwriter Tracey Thorn.

H(a)ppy, by Man Booker-shortlisted Nicola Barker, is a post-post apocalyptic Alice in Wonderland - a story which tells itself and then consumes itself. It's a place where language glows, where words buzz and sparkle and finally implode. It's a novel which twists and writhes with all the terrifying precision of a tiny fish in an Escher lithograph – a book where the mere telling of a story is the end of certainty.

In A Line Made By WalkingSara Baume tells the story of Frankie, a twenty-something artist, who retreats to the rural bungalow on ‘turbine hill’ that has been vacant since her grandmother’s death three years earlier. Finding little comfort in human interaction, Frankie turns her camera lens on the natural world and its reassuring cycle of life and death. What emerges is a profound meditation on the interconnectedness of wilderness, art and individual experience, and a powerful exploration of human frailty.

Phone is author, writer and broadcaster Will Self's most important and compelling novel to date, telling the story of four characters whose five hundred-quid worry bead in their pocket may be both a blessing and a curse. As technology, love and violence finally converge in the wreckage of postwar Iraq, we see how the dalliance between a colonel and a spy will determine the destiny of nations.

The rest of the shortlist includes:

  • Playing Possum by Kevin Davey (Aaaargh Press)
  • Reservoir 13 by Jon McGregor (4th Estate)
  • First Love by Gwendoline Riley (Granta Books)

Announcing the shortlist, Naomi Wood, Lecturer in Creative Writing at Goldsmiths, University of London 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.” 

Launched in association with the New Statesman in 2013, the prize rewards fiction that breaks the mould or extends the possibilities of the novel form, with Hamish Hamilton author Ali Smith winning in 2014 for How To Be Both.

The winner will be announced at ceremony at Foyles in central London on 15 November 2017. Best of luck to all of our shortlisted authors.


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