There was an Irish winner tonight, as the novel Solar Bones found favour with the judges, in an award which aims to reward genuine innovation...
The Irish writer Mike McCormack has won the Goldsmiths Prize for his novel Solar Bones. The announcement was made tonight
The Prize was established in 2013, to celebrate the qualities of creative daring associated with Goldsmith’s University and to reward fiction that breaks the mould or extends the possibilities of the novel form. The annual prize, which is run by Goldsmith’s in association with New Statesman, is worth £10,000 and is awarded to a book that is deemed genuinely ‘novel' and which embodies "the spirit of invention that characterises the genre at its best."
A unique work which is well deserving of the prize, Solar Bones was written in a single “novel length” sentence. The work was praised by the judges for its "remarkable narrative which unfolds in one unbroken sentence and as a formally innovative novel which is also a moving and compelling read.” It follows the stream-of-consciousness recollections of a man named Marcus Conway, a middle-aged engineer from the west of Ireland, briefly returned from the dead on All Soul’s Day, November 2008.
It is McCormack’s third novel, after Crowe’s Requiem (1998) and Notes From A Coma (2005), both od which were critically well received. The book has also been shortlisted for the Bord Gais Energy Irish Book Awards 2016. Solar Bones is published by Tramp Press.
This is McCormack’s second major award. In 1996, he won the Rooney Prize for his debut collection of short stories, Getting It In The Head. However, he has struggled to earn a living from his writing – a subject he spoke about with admirable candour in an interview in Hot Press recently, that was conducted by Olaf Tyarnsen.
New Statesman Culture Editor Tom Gatti said: “The New Statesman is delighted to continue to grow its partnership with the Goldsmiths Prize, which, with Solar Bones, has once again shone a spotlight on a thrilling piece of writing from out of left field. For those who care not only about the state of the novel but its future, this prize is essential.”
McCormack ws born in London in 1965. He grew up on a farm in Louisburgh in Co. Mayo. He studied English and Philosophy at University College Galway – now known as NUIG. He currently lectures and teaches to supplement the income he earns as a writer.