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Diego Garcia, by Natasha Soobramanien and Luke Williams, is the winner of the Goldsmiths Prize 2022.
Natasha Soobramanien and Luke Williams were announced as the winners of the Goldsmiths Prize 2022, in association with the New Statesman, at the first in-person ceremony in three years in London, on Thursday 10 November.
It is the first time in the prize’s ten-year history that a writing duo has won the £10,000 award.
Chair of Judges, Tim Parnell, said: “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.”
Tom Gatti, prize judge and executive editor, culture, at the New Statesman, said: “Since it was founded 10 years ago, the Goldsmiths Prize has helped transform the British and Irish literary landscape. In ‘Diego Garcia’ it has a winner whose inventive spirit is truly in keeping with that of the prize.”
Natasha Soobramanien, British-Mauritian, and Luke Williams, Scottish, are the authors of ‘Genie’ and ‘Paul and The Echo Chamber’, respectively. They used to live in Edinburgh but Natasha now lives in Brussels and Luke in Cove. ‘Diego Garcia’ was a long-term collaboration, which took ten years to complete, co-writing across countries. The novel was published by Fitzcarraldo Editions on 25 May 2022.
Judge Ali Smith said: “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."
The Goldsmiths Prize 2022 celebrates ten years of fiction at its most novel, with a shortlist that combines the personal and the political.
This year’s shortlisted works, announced on 5 October, were:
- Mona Arshi, Somebody Loves You (And Other Stories)
- Sara Baume, Seven Steeples (Tramp Press)
- Maddie Mortimer, Maps of Our Spectacular Bodies (Picador)
- Helen Oyeyemi, Peaces (Faber & Faber)
- Yara Rodrigues Fowler, there are more things (Fleet)
- Natasha Soobramanien & Luke Williams, Diego Garcia (Fitzcarraldo Editions)
Professor Frances Corner, Warden of Goldsmiths, said: “The Goldsmiths Prize has spent ten years rewarding fiction that breaks the mould, connecting innovative novels to new audiences across the world and inspiring the next generation of writers.
With the support of our media partner The New Statesman, the Prize has matured into a fixture of the UK’s literary calendar, amplifying the work of writers who dare to do things differently.
The qualities of creative daring for so long associated with Goldsmiths are once again exemplified in this tenth shortlist. My warmest congratulations go to all the nominees and to Natasha Soobramanien and Luke Williams as this year’s winners."
Soobramanien and Williams will appear at the Cambridge Literary Festival, in association with the New Statesman on November 19.
The 2022 Goldsmiths Prize judging panel consisted of Ali Smith, Natasha Brown (author of Assembly, shortlisted for the Goldsmiths Prize 2021), Tom Gatti (executive editor, culture, at the New Statesman) and chair of judges Tim Parnell (director of the Goldsmiths Prize and senior lecturer in English at Goldsmiths).
The Goldsmiths Prize was launched in association with the New Statesman in 2013 with the goal of celebrating the spirit of creative daring associated with Goldsmiths as a university, and to reward fiction that breaks the mould and extends the possibilities of the novel form.
For more information visit the Goldsmiths Prize website.