The Goldsmiths Prize
fiction at its most novel
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.
2022 winner: Diego Garcia by Natasha Soobramanien and Luke Williams
Tim Parnell (Chair of Judges):
“By turns, funny, moving, and angry, Diego Garcia is as compelling to read as it is intricately wrought. For Natasha Soobramanien and Luke Williams collaboration is both method and politics.
"Against the dogmatism of the single-voiced fiction that informed the British government’s expulsion of the Chagossian people from their homeland, they respond not only with rigorous critique, but also with an understanding of the relationship between voice and power which shapes the very form of Diego Garcia. A marvellous book which extends the scope of the novel form.”
Ali Smith (Judge):
“An extraordinary achievement, this single novel composed by two writers is both a paean to connectivity and a profound study of the tragedy of human disconnect. At its core is an excoriation of a set of specific colonial foulnesses and injustices: the forced depopulation of the Chagos Islands and their expedient use by the UK and the US as a military base and bargaining chip.
"At its heart is an experiment with form that asks what fiction is, what art is for, and how, against the odds, to make visible, questionable and communal the structures, personal and political, of contemporary society, philosophy, lived history."
About the Shortlist
When we launched the Goldsmiths Prize in 2013, we did so with excitement and optimism. Perhaps, too, there were some small glimmers of doubt. Would there be enough novels in a literary culture often damned for its conservatism to merit our focus on fiction which breaks the mould? Would such novels necessarily hark back to the monuments of twentieth-century ‘experimental’ fiction and thus run the risk of being conventionally unconventional? And what would readers make of fiction typically characterised as difficult or esoteric?
Our nominees and winners to date have comprehensively allayed any such doubts, and this our tenth shortlist further speaks to a vibrant place in the literary culture of the British Isles in which urgent contemporary concerns are addressed in daringly creative novels unfettered by conventions new or old. For the reader, each of these distinctive books will provoke thought and bring the pleasure of surprise.
Dr Tim Parnell, Chair of Judges