In association with the New Statesman
Fiction at its most novel
All great works of literature either dissolve a genre or invent one’ (Walter Benjamin)
‘I have laid a plan for something new, quite out of the beaten track’ (Laurence Sterne)
Novel, n. Something new (OED)
The Goldsmiths Prize has been established to celebrate the qualities of creative daring associated with the college and to reward fiction that breaks the mould or opens up new possibilities for the novel form. Accordingly, the annual prize of £10,000 will be awarded to a book that is deemed genuinely novel and which embodies the spirit of invention that characterises the genre at its best.
There are many prizes with a brief to reward the ‘best’ fiction, but while that implies openness to excellent novels of all kinds, the books that win prizes tend, for all their merits, to be unsurprising and conventional. Launching in the tercentenary year of the births of Laurence Sterne and Denis Diderot, the Goldsmiths Prize will go to a novel that shares something of the exuberant inventiveness and restlessness with conventions manifest in Tristram Shandy and Jacques the Fatalist. The modern equivalents of Sterne and Diderot are often labelled ‘experimental,’ with the implication that their fiction is an eccentric deviation from the novel’s natural concerns, structures and idioms. A long view of the novel’s history, however, suggests that it is the most flexible and varied of genres, and the Goldsmiths Prize will encourage and reward writers who make best use of its many resources and possibilities.
While debate about the nature of the novel and the directions it should or should not take has had key moments of intensity since Virginia Woolf published ‘Modern Novels’ in 1919, it is as old as the genre itself. Yet serious discussion of the art of fiction is now too often confined to the pages of learned journals, and we hope the prize will stimulate a much wider debate about fiction. To contribute to the dialogue, the Goldsmiths Writers’ Centre will host a series of prize-related events each year, including readings from critically acclaimed contemporary novelists and the shortlisted writers.
At last - a books prize that rewards innovation:
The Guardian, 25 January 2013
Blake Morrison discusses the prize and considers what being experimental and innovative means for 21st century novelists with Alex Preston and Mariella Frostrup:
BBC Radio 4’s ‘Open Book’, 10 February 2013
Rules & Entry
Important Information for Publishers
The award will be made on an annual basis. The 2013 Prize is for novels published between 1 November 2012 and 31 October 2013. A shortlist of six books will be announced in October, and the prize will be awarded at a ceremony to be held at Goldsmiths in November.
25 January 2013 - Prize open for submissions
22 March 2013 - Closing date for entry forms, finished copies of novels and bound proofs (where available)
1 July 2013 - Closing date for submission of final texts
October 2013 - Shortlist announced
November 2014 - Winner announced
Submitted novels, written in English by citizens of the UK (Great Britain and Northern Ireland) or the Republic of Ireland, must be published by a UK-based publisher during the prize year. Reissues, anthologies, collections of short stories, and self-published books are not eligible for the prize, and authors must be living at the time of submission. Submissions will be effected via UK publishers, who will be able to submit a book (or manuscript) via the form below. Each submission must be accompanied by a completed entry form. Final texts must be submitted by 1 July 2013. If finished copies are not available by 22 March, bound proofs may be submitted on condition that they are of good quality and that the content reflects that of the final book. If proofs are submitted, final copies should be sent in as soon as they are available and no later than 1 July 2012. The judging panel will also have the right to call in books that have not been put forward.
Full details of the prize’s Terms and Conditions can be found in the forms below and will be available on this web page from Thursday 24 January 2013.
Download entry form:
Download terms and conditions: