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If you want to tap into the most cutting edge fiction today, the Goldsmiths Prize (now in its fifth year) is one to watch. It was started in 2013 by Goldsmiths, a university in south London and the prize seeks to celebrate creative daring, reward fiction that breaks the mould and extends the possibilities of the novel form. Obviously, like any prize, it’s subjective. This isn’t a definitive list of all the excitingly experimental things being published today, but it gives a good guideline and it’s become one of my favourite prizes since past winners Eimear McBride’s “A Girl is A Half-Formed Thing”, Ali Smith’s “How to be Both”, Kevin Barry’s “Beatlebone” and Mike McCormack’s “Solar Bones” count among some of my favourite novels in recent years. And isn’t it funny that the previous two winners are both Irishmen who have the word “bone” in their book titles? Those Irish are so morbid! Ha!

I’ve read four of this year’s six shortlisted novels. I really admired both Sara Baume’s “A Line Made by Walking” and Nicola Barker’s “H(A)PPY”. I had very mixed feelings reading Jon McGregor’s “Reservoir 13” but in reflection I’ve found it a really moving novel and I’d be eager to read it again. I’m as baffled about what’s so good about Gwendoline Riley’s “First Love” now as I was when it was shortlisted for the Baileys Women’s Prize for Fiction earlier this year. It made me angry how withholding the narrative of this novel felt, but obviously others appreciate it much more. I’ve heard mixed things about Will Self’s novel “Phone” but I’ve appreciated his fiction in the past and I’m eager to read it. I hadn’t heard of “Playing Possum” by Kevin Davey before this prize and I love it when book prizes introduce me to writers’ work I wouldn’t have come across otherwise.

You can also watch me discuss my thoughts about the shortlist and experimental fiction here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xKbujRtyLWg

What do you think of the list? Do you like experimental fiction? Are you intrigued to read any of the books from the shortlist? It’s difficult to say, but I’m betting that “Reservoir 13” or “A Line Made by Walking” will win. Do you have a prediction?

One of the most exciting book prizes around that truly celebrates “fiction at its most novel” is The Goldsmiths Prize. Since 2013 its celebrated fiction that “breaks the mould or extends the possibilities of the novel form.” Last year’s winner was Kevin Barry’s fantastic, funny and wild novel “Beatlebone”. The shortlist of six novels was announced yesterday and the winner will be announced on November 9th.

They’re a diverse and exciting group including Deborah Levy’s “Hot Milk” which was one of my early books of the year so far and it’s also shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize. It’s wonderful that people will see that this novel isn’t simply straightforward fiction, but Levy does something quite offbeat with both the characters and story.

I was also thrilled to see Mike McCormack’s “Solar Bones” on the list. There’s been a bit of controversy lately that this novel wasn’t considered for the Man Booker Prize because it’s by Tramp Press’ whose books only come out in Ireland. As I discussed in my post about it, the novel does something quite radical with form which perfectly suits the message that McCormack wants to convey.

Of course, Eimear McBride is famous for her highly unusual writing style after her first novel “A Girl is a Half-Formed Thing” won the Baileys Prize. Her most recent novel “The Lesser Bohemians” has also made the Goldsmiths Prize list and quite rightly because she continues working with an eccentric prose style, but with a different subject. Here she explores a first love in an entirely new and refreshing way.

I read Rachel Cusk’s novel “Outline” which is a prequel to her new novel “Transit” which has been listed for the prize. While I have a copy of this new book I’ve felt trepidation about starting it because of residual conflicted feelings I had about her novel. However, I’m curious to give it a try as “Outline” was a really enjoyable reading experience. I’ve also been meaning to read Anakana Schofield’s novel “Martin John” since early on this year when I read a story of hers in “The Long Gaze Back” anthology. Finally, I’ve heard great things about Sarah Ladipo Manyika’s novel “Like a Mule Bringing Ice Cream to the Sun” so I’m looking forward to reading it.

Are there any novels you’ve read this year which you feel really push the form of fiction?
Have you read any books on this shortlist and which novel do you think will win?