A tale which imagines John Lennon leaving New York and looking for solace on a small island off the west coast of Ireland is on the shortlist for the Goldsmiths Prize 2015.
Kevin Barry’s Beatlebone joins five other books selected by a panel of judges looking for inventive and original fiction writing.
Acts of the Assassins by Richard Beard was shortlisted for its portrayal of a detective on the hunt for the killer of Jesus and his disciples, whilst Magnus Mills’ The Field of the Cloth and Gold landed a nomination for its depiction of territorial battles in a Roman style setting.
Tom McCarthy’s Satin Island explores the mind of a London based consultant analysing the mass media for a global conspiracy, whilst Grief is the Thing with Feathers by Max Porter looks at the experience of two boys trying to heal after the recent death of their mother.
Adam Thirlwell’s Lurid & Cute completes the shortlist with its story of a man’s decent from the good life to debauchery.
Professor Josh Cohen, Chair of the judging panel said: “Having enjoyed a long and robust discussion of the different ways today’s novelists are challenging, breaking and remaking the rules of their own form, we’re delighted to present this shortlist of audacious and original books.”
“If there’s a red thread running through these fascinatingly diverse novels, it’s a very contemporary concern with life at its furthest edges.”
“We hope to see the shortlist provoke much curiosity and argument among many readers about the possibilities of fiction today,” said Cohen.
The Goldsmiths Prize was launched in 2013 by Goldsmiths and the New Statesman, aimed at rewarding works of fiction for their creativity.
Tom Gatti, Culture Editor of the New Statesman said: “The Goldsmiths Prize shortlist has become an essential annual reading list for anyone interested in ambitious fiction.”
“The New Statesman is delighted to continue its partnership with a prize that, in its third year, is already setting the literary agenda.”
Eimear McBride, the first winner of the award and one of this year’s judges, landed the £10,000 prize for her book A Girl Is A Half-formed Thing, a novel which was rejected by publishers for being too experimental.
Ali Smith who won the award last year, for How To Be Both, credits the prize with encouraging publishers to embrace more experimental work.
Smiths said: “Already the industry is acting on something which Goldsmiths knew all along; which is that the novel is completely alive, completely experimental and energetic at base, always will be revolutionary, and at the same time the readers love that.”
The six authors will give readings of their novels at Goldsmiths at the end of October. A date for the readings has not yet been confirmed.