Natasha Brown and Leone Ross are on the shortlist for the Goldsmith Prize 2021 announced on October 6, 2021.
The Goldsmiths Prize was established to celebrate the qualities of creative daring and to reward fiction that breaks the mould or extends the possibilities of the novel form in 2013. The annual prize worth £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 the previous winners of the prize have been M. John Harrison, Lucy Ellmann, Robin Robertson, and Nicola Barker. None of these have been writers of African descent.
The Judges for this year’s edition are Nell Stevens (chair), Fred D’Aguiar, Kamila Shamsie, and Johanna Thomas-Corr. They announced the shortlist for this years award they feature the following titles by writers of African descent;
- Assembly, Natasha Brown, Hamish Hamilton
- This One Day Sky Day, Leone Ross, Faber & Faber
Natasha Brown has worked in the financial services for the last ten years and studied Maths at Cambridge University. She developed ‘Assembly’ after receiving a 2019 London Writers Award in the literary fiction category and lives in London.
Judge Johanna Thomas-Corr on Assembly;
Natasha Brown’s debut novel is a small but blistering take on the British elite and its poisonous relationship with immigration, work and sexual politics. Within a 100 neat pages, this non-linear, stream-of-consciousness narrative follows a young black woman who has invested everything in transcending her race, class and gender to attain a high-paid position in a cut-throat bank. She is even invited to share her success story with eager young women at a school assembly.
Leone Ross was born in England and grew up in Jamaica. Her first novel, ‘All the Blood Is Red’, was longlisted for the Orange Prize, and her second novel, ‘Orange Laughter’, was chosen as a BBC Radio 4 Women’s Hour Watershed Fiction favourite. Her short fiction has been widely anthologised and her first short-story collection, the 2017 ‘Come Let Us Sing Anyway’ was nominated for the Edge Hill Short Story Prize, the Jhalak Prize, the Saboteur Awards and the OCM BOCAS Prize.Ross has taught creative writing for twenty years, at University College Dublin, Cardiff University and Roehampton University in London. She is editor of the first black British anthology of speculative fiction, due out in 2022 with Peepal Tree Press. Prior to writing fiction, Ross worked as a journalist. Leone Ross lives in London but intends to retire near water.
Judge Fred D’Aguiar on This One Sky Day;
Bold, wild, uproarious, gawdy, bodacious, lyrical, effusive, carnivalesque, heraldic, liminal, expansive, fabulous, sensuous, sexy, hundred-story-jump and political fist-pump, replete with coordinates that big-up the poor and wrestle with authority, with the gender binary sharing space and place with the gender fluid, against the vexed reproduction of convention, only to buck expectation in favour of invention, of ellipsis in cahoots with culinary magic, obeah partnered with scandal, ribaldry as social cohesion, secrecy as a manifesto for desire’s rampant rule of island rhythm, ‘This One Sky Day’ insists on having its way with the surreal, fable and allegory (all three simultaneously) by relocating the center of thought in flesh, blood, bone and nerves, and in flora, fauna, land and sea, to create a world brimful with wonder and delight.
The winner will be announced on November 10, 2021.