Goldsmiths Prize 2016: women writers dominate the shortlist

The former winner Eimear McBride, Rachel Cusk and Deborah Levy are all in the running for the £10,000 prize.

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The shortlist for this year’s Goldsmiths Prize for fiction is dominated by women writers, with the prolific Rachel Cusk, the former winner Eimear McBride and the playwright and novelist Deborah Levy all in the running for their latest works. The only male author among the shortlist of six is the award-winning author Mike McCormack, whose novel Solar Bones has won plaudits outside his native Ireland.

Now in its fourth year, the £10,000 prize was set up by Goldsmiths College with the New Statesman to reward fiction "that breaks the mould or opens up new possibilities for the novel form". Previous winners include the Irish writer Kevin Barry’s Beatlebone, a fictional account of John Lennon’s stay on an uninhabited island off the Irish coast, and Scottish-born Ali Smith for her innovative novel in two parts How to be Both.

The chair of the judges, Blake Morrison said: “The six books on this year’s shortlist have a wide range of subject matter and idiom but all show the same desire to push boundaries and take risks. Dark areas are explored with a lightness of touch. And serious themes broached. . . with no loss of humour or irony.  

“Narrowed down from an entry of 111 titles, it’s a list the judges arrived at without rancour or compromise, and one that demonstrates the healthy state of British and Irish fiction today.”

Among this year’s judges is the New Statesman’s contributing writer, Erica Wagner, the author Joanna Walsh, Bernardine Evaristo — a  Professor of Creative Writing at Brunel University London whose writing also spans short fiction, essays and radio drama.

The winner will be announced on 9 November 2016.

The 2016 Goldsmiths Prize shortlist

Transit, Rachel Cusk, Cape

Hot Milk, Deborah Levy, Hamish Hamilton

The Lesser Bohemians, Eimear McBride, Faber & Faber

Solar Bones, Mike McCormack, Tramp Press

Like a Mule Bringing Ice Cream to the Sun, Sarah Ladipo Manyika, Cassava Republic Press

Martin JohnAnakana Schofield, And Other Stories

Serena Kutchinsky is the digital editor of the New Statesman.