by Isabel Waidner
WINNER OF THE GOLDSMITHS PRIZE 2021
Sterling 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.
Sterling Karat Gold is 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.
Following the Goldsmiths Prize–nominated We Are Made of Diamond Stuff, Isabel Waidner’s latest novel proposes community, inventiveness and the stubborn refusal to lie low as antidotes against marginalisation and towards better futures.
‘We join football-shirt-skirted, velvet-and-montera-clad Sterling in a fiction replete with time travel, Chariot Roman Spas, a living pink fountain and queer working-class histories. Let’s face it: Waidner’s Sterling Karat Gold deals a fatal blow to jobsworths everywhere! Indeed, in an ever obtuse and hostile Britain, where the flattening of queer and trans expression is borderline de riguer, Sterling makes me feel heartened and defiant in all its revelry and multiplicity and deftness: and here in the UK! and happening now!’ – Shola von Reinhold, author of LOTE
‘A sublime, mesmerising feat blending the surreal and political. Waidner is a ferocious, uniquely gifted talent and the world feels all the better for it.’ – Irenosen Okojie, author of Nudibranch
‘Effortlessly referential, fluid and funny, endlessly inventive, furious and resistant, Sterling Karat Gold doubles down on Isabel Waidner’s disruptive ongoing analysis of UK psychic architecture. A real joy to read.’ –M John Harrison, author of The Sunken Land Begins to Rise Again
About the author:
Isabel Waidner is a writer and academic. They are the author of three novels: Sterling Karat Gold (2021), We Are Made of Diamond Stuff (2019) and Gaudy Bauble (2017). They are the winner of the Goldsmiths Prize 2021, and were shortlisted for both, the Republic of Consciousness Prize (twice) and the Goldsmiths Prize in 2019. They are a co-founder of the event series Queers Read This at the Institute of Contemporary Arts, London, and the programmer and presenter of This Isn’t a Dream, a fortnightly literary talk show, also hosted by the ICA via Instagram live.