The Goldsmiths Prize 2015

Fiction at its most novel

Prize intro

The winner of the Goldsmiths Prize 2015 is Beatlebone by Kevin Barry.

'Beatlebone is a novel that takes its reader to the edge – of the Western world, of sanity, of fame, of words. But it also takes us to the very edge of the novel form, where it meets its notorious doppelgänger, autobiography. Its compulsive narrative of one of the last century’s great musicians and pop icons gradually, and without a hint of contrivance, becomes a startling and original meditation on the uncanny relationship of a writer to his character. Intricately weaving and blurring fiction and life, Beatlebone embodies beautifully this prize’s spirit of creative risk. We’re proud to crown it our winner.’  (Josh Cohen, Chair of Judges).

The 2015 shortlist

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Kevin Barry

John owns a tiny island off the west coast of Ireland. Maybe it is there that he can at last outrun the shadows of his past.
The tale of a wild journey into the world and a wild journey within, Beatlebone is a mystery box of a novel. It’s a portrait of an artist at a time of creative strife. It is most of all a sad and beautiful comedy from one of the most gifted stylists now at work.

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Acts of the Assassins

Richard Beard

Gallio does counter-insurgency. But the theft of a body he's supposed to be guarding ruins his career. Bizarre rumours of the walking dead are swirling, there is panic in the air, and it’s his job to straighten out the conspiracy. He blows the case. Acts of the Assassins is about one man’s struggle to confront forces beyond his understanding. And about how lonely a turbulent world can be.

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Satin Island

Tom McCarthy

Meet U. – a talented and uneasy figure currently pimping his skills to an elite consultancy in contemporary London. His employers advise everyone from big businesses to governments, and, to this end, expect their 'corporate anthropologist' to help decode and manipulate the world around them – all the more so now that a giant, epoch-defining project is in the offing.

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The Field of the Cloth of Gold

Magnus Mills

It used to be just Hen. He had a tent in the west and he was the first. But more and more people are setting up camp in the lush pastures of the Great Field and with each new arrival life becomes a little more complicated.

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Grief is the Thing With Feathers

Max Porter

In a London flat, two young boys face the unbearable sadness of their mother’s sudden death. Their father, a Ted Hughes scholar and scruffy romantic, imagines a future of well-meaning visitors and emptiness. In this moment of despair they are visited by Crow - antagonist, trickster, healer, babysitter.

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Lurid & Cute

Adam Thirlwell

This yarn takes place in the suburbs of a giant city. In Brasilia they’re coming off their night shift, in Tokyo they’re having their first whisky sours – that’s what’s happening elsewhere in the world when our hero wakes up.

Prize intro

Key dates

Prize open for submissions 23 January 2015
Closing date for submission of entry forms 27 March 2015
Closing date for submission of finished books 3 July 2015
Shortlist announced 1 October 2015
Winner announced 11 November 2015


Contemporary writers discussing the art of fiction. The Goldsmiths Writers' Centre in association with the New Statesman presents:

Readings from the 2015 shortlist 21 October 2015

The Judges