Ali Smith Won the Goldsmiths Prize

Ali Smith wins the 2014 Goldsmiths Prize for

Ali Smith

For her novel How to Be Both, Ali Smith has won the 2014 Goldsmiths Prize. Judges Geoff Dyer, Tom Gatti, Kirsty Gunn, and Francis Spufford selected the title which had been in contention with Outline by Rachel Cusk, The Absent Therapist by Will Eaves, J by Howard Jacobson The Wake by Paul Kingsnorth, and In The Light of What We Know by Zia Haider Rahm. The prize comes with a £10,000 award.

How to be Both was shortlisted for the 2014 Man Booker Prize which ultimately went to Richard Flanagan’s The Narrow Road to the Deep North.

Richard Flanagan Has Won the 2014 Man Booker Prize

Richard Flanagan has won the 2015 Man Booker Prize - peoplewhowrite

Richard Flanagan

Richard Flanagan’s The Narrow Road to the Deep North beat out To Rise Again at a Decent Hour by Joshua FerrisWe Are All Completely Beside Ourselves by Karen Joy FowlerJ by Howard JacobsonThe Lives of Others by Neel Mukherjee, and How to be Both by Ali Smith to win the 2014 Man Booker Prize, worth £50,000. According to, the chair of judges AC Grayling said he and his fellow jurors debated for three hours before reaching a majority decision. “The two great themes from the origin of literature are love and war: this is a magnificent novel of love and war,” Grayling said.

The Narrow Road to the Deep North, Flanagan’s sixth novel, is inspired by Flanagan’s father. A Japanese prisoner of war in the 1940s, the elder Flanagan was forced to help build the Death Railway between Bangkok, Thailand and Rangoon, Burma in 1943 to support Japanese forces. Over 100,000 people died in construction of the railway.

“He trusted me, he never asked me what the story was,” Flanagan told the BBC. The book took him 12 years to finish. “But I did talk to him often about very small things. What the mud was like, what the smell of a rotting tropical ulcer that had eaten through to the shin bone exactly was. What a tiny ball of sour rice would taste like when you’re starving, what starvation felt like in your belly and your brain.”

The day he finished the novel, Flanagan’s father, 98, died.

This was the first year the Man Booker Prize was open to English Language writers outside the Commonwealth. The Tasmania-born author remarked “In Australia the Man Booker is sometimes seen as something of a chicken raffle. I just didn’t expect to end up the chicken.”

The 2014 Goldsmiths Prize Shortlist is Here

Will Eaves' The Absent Therapist shortlisted for 2014 Goldsmiths Prize - peoplewhowrite

Will Eaves

The six contenders for the second annual Goldsmiths Prize include a debut title that was crowd-funded (Paul Kingsnorth’s The Wake), two novels shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize (Howard Jacobson’s J and Ali Smith’s How to Be Both), and one that was longlisted for the Guardian First Book Award 2014 (Zia Haider Rahman’s In the Light of What We Know). Costa, Whitbread and Somerset Maughm Award-winning author Rachel Cusk, whose latest book Outline is in Goldsmiths contention, isn’t too shabby either. Will Eaves, who has been shortlisted for a Whitbread Award, has also been recognized by Goldsmiths this year for his novel The Absent Therapist.  In other words, it’s on:

Outline by Rachel Cusk
The Absent Therapist by Will Eaves
J by Howard Jacobson
The Wake by Paul Kingsnorth
In The Light of What We Know by Zia Haider Rahman
How to Be Both by Ali Smith

Judges Geoff Dyer, Tom Gatti, Kirsty Gunn, and Francis Spufford will select the winner to be announced at Foyles bookshop in London on November 12, 2014, and receive a £10,000 award. 2014 Baileys Prizewinner Eimear McBride won the inaugural Goldsmiths Prize last year for her novel A Girl Is A Half-Formed Thing. McBride’s book has also been shortlisted for the 2014 Dylan Thomas Prize.

The 2014 Man Booker Shortlist is Here

The six titles shortlisted for the 2014 Man Booker PrizeThe 2014 Man Booker longlist has been whittled down from 13 to the six titles on the shortlist. 2014 is the first year authors of any title written in English are eligible–a change that was received with fear that Commonwealth writers would be edged out. Three Brits, two Americans, and one Australian made the cut under the new rules:

Eleanor Catton, author of The Luminaries, won the £50,000 prize last year. Last week, she announced she would be launching a grant that rewards writers not with time to write, but time to read.

The 2014 Man Booker Longlist Announced

Longlisted for the 2014 Man Booker Prize - peoplewhowrite

Longlisted for the 2014 Man Booker Prize

The 2014 Man Booker Longlist is here. For the first time, the prize is open to any title written in English (rather than just English and Commonwealth Writers); a change that was received with some grumbling for fear that future judges would privilege North American sensibilities. The longlist features six Britons, four Americans, two Irish writers, and one Australian:

Eleanor Catton, author of The Luminaries won the prestigious £50,000 prize last year.