Fiction at its most novel

Prize intro

The Goldsmiths Prize was established in 2013 to celebrate the qualities of creative daring associated with the College and to reward fiction that breaks the mould or extends the possibilities of the novel form. The annual prize of £10,000 is awarded to a book that is deemed genuinely novel and which embodies the spirit of invention that characterizes the genre at its best.

2020 Winner: The Sunken Land Begins to Rise Again by M. John Harrison

“M. John Harrison has produced a literary masterpiece that will continue to be read in 100 years time, if the planet survives that long” Frances Wilson, Chair of Judges.

Read our news story about the winner.

About the Shortlist

From D B C Pierre’s smarting satire of smartphone culture to Paul Griffith’s elegant imagining of Beethoven in Boston, the six books shortlisted for the Goldsmiths Prize 2020 are concerned with characters in extremis and loss of moorings. While Monique Roffey’s 'The Mermaid of Black Conch' blends 'Moby Dick' with 'Metamorphosis' in a polyphonic reflection on racial and sexual identity, M John Harrison’s 'The Sunken Land Begins to Rise Again' returns us to 'The Water Babies' in a fishy tale of hallucinogenic beauty and strangeness. Xiaolu Guo’s 'A Lover’s Discourse' places Roland Barthes in Brexit Britain in a delicate and witty love story between East and West, and Anakana Schofield’s 'Bina', a black comedy about euthanasia, is told as a series of warnings scribbled on the backs of envelopes by a woman who has had enough –a feeling many of us can share in these fragile and fractured times.

Dr Frances Wilson, Chair of Judges

The Goldsmiths Prize app is available for tablet and mobile

The Goldsmiths Prize App for iOS

Download the app to read information on all the nominated books, watch interviews and readings, explore the fresco that lies at the heart of Ali Smith's 2014 winner How to be Both, and see pages from the manuscript and first draft of Eimear McBride's A Girl is a Half-formed Thing.

Find out more and download the app for free