Ten thousand pounds for ‘boldly original fiction’

James Kelman. Pic: Goldsmiths, University of London

A new £10,000 literary prize rewarding ‘boldly original fiction’ was launched yesterday by Goldsmiths, University of London, in association with The New Statesman, the current affairs and politics magazine.

The Goldsmiths prize celebrates creative innovation within the college and will be awarded to:  “The book that is deemed genuinely novel and which embodies the spirit of invention that characterises the genre at its best.”

Jonathan Derbyshire, culture editor of the New Statesman and judge of the prize, said: “The New Statesman is delighted to be supporting a prize that rewards invention and innovation in fiction – qualities that the magazine has long promoted in its literary pages. We are especially pleased to be entering into partnership with an institution as forward-looking as Goldsmiths.”

The prize was officially announced at Goldsmiths at a reading by Booker Prize-winning novelist James Kelman, who has previously taught creative writing at the college.

Kelman read from his novel Mo Said She Was Quirky, and discussed innovative literature with Johnathan Derbyshire. Kelman suggested that feeling pressured to conform to formal traditions in English literature stifles originality in many authors – something he has rebelled against with the Glasweigan dialect that narrates many of his novels.

This is the first of a series of readings by various acclaimed contemporary authors organised by the new Writers’ Centre at Goldsmiths.

Dr Tim Parnell, Head of the Department of English and Comparative Literature said: “serious discussion of the art of fiction is too often confined to the pages of learned journals and we hope the prize and the events surrounding it will stimulate a much wider debate about the novel.”

Blake Morrison, poet, author and Professor of Creative & Life Writing at Goldsmiths, commented: “A number of innovative and prize-winning young novelists and poets have emerged from our creative writing programme, and the inauguration of the Writers’ Centre is a recognition that writing at Goldsmiths has an increasingly high profile.” He added that he hopes the prize “will encourage more risk-taking among novelists, editors and agents alike.”

Publishers can submit novels for the prize from Friday 25 January 2013 to Friday 22 March 2013. The Prize is open to novels published in 2013 and will be awarded in November. The winner will be chosen by a panel consisting of British novelists Nicola Barker and Gabriel Josipovici, culture editor of the New Statesman, Jonathan Derbyshire, and Goldsmiths’ Dr Tim Parnell.


By Oliver Shaw

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