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Queen Mary academic and author shortlisted for prestigious Goldsmiths Prize

Dr Isabel Waidner, author and Senior Lecturer in Creative Writing/Performance at Queen Mary University of London, has received the recognition for their novel Sterling Karat Gold.

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The book is described as ‘Kafka’s The Trial written for the era of gaslighting – a surreal inquiry into the real effects of state violence on gender-nonconforming, working-class and black bodies.’

Sterling, the novel’s main character, is arrested one morning without having done anything wrong. Plunged into a terrifying and nonsensical world, Sterling – with the help of their three best friends – must defy bullfighters, football players and spaceships in order to exonerate themselves and to hold the powers that be to account.

Dr Isabel Waidner of Queen Mary’s School of English and Drama said: “I am delighted to be shortlisted for this award. I am committed to reimagining what ‘the novel’ might be and do in relation to wider societal concerns in post-Brexit Britain, and the fact that Sterling Karat Gold has been received so enthusiastically gives me hope.”

Kamila Shamsie of the Goldsmiths Prize judging panel commented that the book "collides the real and the mythic, the beautiful and the grotesque, to mind-bending effect". She also praised Dr Waidner's "live, distinctive intelligence that pushes form to make us see the world around us in new ways and perhaps even for the first time”.

The Goldsmiths Prize was established in 2013 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. 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.

The winner of this year’s competition will be announced on 10 November 2021.

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