The £10,000 Goldsmith Prize seeks to reward innovation in fiction. It is in an exceptional position to promote British authors, particularly following the Booker announced its intention to allow entries from across the globe, so long as they are published in Britain. Last Wednesday, all six shortlisted writers were invited to Goldsmiths, University of London, to read from and discuss their novels. Lars Iyer, Jim Crace, Ali Smith, Eimear McBride and Philip Terry appeared in the flesh - while David Peace was beamed in from Tokyo via Skype. The winner of the inagural prize will be announced at a reception on Wednesday evening (13 November).
Lars Iyer’s Exodus is a book of philosophy written as fiction. It is the third novel in a trilogy which follows two academics discussing, in the dialectical tradition, everything from Kierkegaard to Beckett (via Herzog). Juliet Jacques, in an interview with Iyer, attributes his success to Iyer’s “skill in distilling ... despair.”
Harvest by Jim Crace follows widower Walter Thirsk during one calamitous week of harvest. Enclosure has uprooted a family to the edges of his village and is set to uproot him too. Leo Robson describes it as the “most seductive and enthralling of Crace's novels”
Philip Terry’s novel tapestry is about the language of propaganda. The novel tells the story the nuns who made the Bayeux Tapestry and follows their conversations and tales they tell each other. Nicholas Lezard on tapestery: “It's fun, it's intelligent, it makes you contemplate the age with new interest, and yet it does not shirk from depicting the grim realities of life at the time.
Eimear McBride’s debut A Girl Is A Half-formed Thing delves into the mind of an adolescent Irish girl as she attempts to make sense of the world. The novel has been described as “the work of a writer with the courage to reinvent the sentence as she pleases, and the virtuosity required to pull it off.”