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28 January 2014

Geoff Dyer to judge the 2014 Goldsmiths Prize

The prize, inaugurated in 2013 to reward "fiction at its most novel", will officially relaunch on 29 January.

By Critic

The award-winning novelist and journalist Geoff Dyer will join Kirsty Gunn, Francis Spufford and NS Culture Editor Tom Gatti to judge this year’s Goldsmiths Prize. The £10,000 prize for “fiction at its most novel”, which was inaugurated in 2013 in association with the New Statesman, will officially launch on 29 January when last year’s winner Eimear McBride will read from her novel A Girl is a Half-formed Thing.

Blake Morrison, Professor of Creative and Life Writing, cited Walter Benjamin when he introduced the prize shortlist last October – his dictum that a great work of literature should either “establish a genre or dissolve one”. Dyer, whose work ranges across art criticism, travel writing, fiction and non-fiction (generally within a single volume), has called the Goldsmiths “a much-needed prize rewarding innovation, originality and daring.”

The debut shortlist, drawn in 2013 from over 120 submissions, was remarkable in singling out six books, four of which were published by independent publishers – all of which broke new ground.

“The New Statesman has long been home to daring writing, from Virginia Woolf to Will Self,” said Tom Gatti, who took over as Culture Editor at the magazine in November. “We are delighted to be continuing our partnership with the Goldsmiths Prize, a rare opportunity to celebrate audacity and invention in British fiction.”

McBride’s reading will be followed by two further events: Deborah Levy on the art of fiction on 26 February and Kirsty Gunn on 12 March. The closing date for submissions to the prize (details, for all interested parties, can be found here) is 28 March. This year’s shortlist will be announced on 1 October, with the winner being presented with the prize at Goldsmiths on the evening of 12 November.

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Francis Spufford, a member of the faculty at Goldsmiths and the author of Red Plenty, The Child that Books Built and, mostly recently, Unapologetic, said “the best boundary is the most elastic one, and the most interesting literary territory is the most contested.”

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More information about the Goldsmiths Prize is available here.