Helen Oyeyemi

Helen Oyeyemi’s novel Pieces is on the shortlist for the Goldsmith Prize 2022 announced on Wednesday, October 5, 2022.

The Goldsmith Prize was established 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 in 2013. 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. Some of its previous winners have been M. John Harrison, Eimear McBride, and Ali Smith.

The judging panel for 2022 chaired by Senior Lecturer in the Department of English and Creative Writing at Goldsmiths Tim Purnell includes novelist Natasha Brown, executive editor, books, culture, ideas and print at the New Statesman Tom Gatti, and novelist and previous Goldsmith Winner Ali Smith.

The shortlist for the year was announced on October 5 with Helen Oyeyemi’s novel Pieces making the list. Helen Oyeyemi is the author of a story collection and five novels has been a finalist for the 2014 Los Angeles Times Book Prize, received a 2010 Somerset Maugham Award and a 2012 Hurston/Wright Legacy Award. In 2013, she was named one of Granta‘s Best Young British Novelists.

The blurb to Penguin Random House published Pieces goes thus;

The prize-winning, bestselling author of Gingerbread; Boy, Snow, Bird; and What Is Not Yours Is Not Yours returns with a vivid and inventive new novel about a couple forever changed by an unusual train voyage.

When Otto and Xavier Shin declare their love, an aunt gifts them a trip on a sleeper train to mark their new commitment—and to get them out of her house. Setting off with their pet mongoose, Otto and Xavier arrive at their sleepy local train station, but quickly deduce that The Lucky Day is no ordinary locomotive. Their trip on this former tea-smuggling train has been curated beyond their wildest imaginations, complete with mysterious and welcoming touches, like ingredients for their favorite breakfast. They seem to be the only people on board, until Otto discovers a secretive woman who issues a surprising message. As further clues and questions pile up, and the trip upends everything they thought they knew, Otto and Xavier begin to see connections to their own pasts, connections that now bind them together.

A spellbinding tale from a star author, Peaces is about what it means to be seen by another person—whether it’s your lover or a stranger on a train—and what happens when things you thought were firmly in the past turn out to be right beside you.

The winner will be announced later in the year.