The BSLS is delighted to announce the winner of its Book Prize for 2020: Biofictions: Race, Genetics and the Contemporary Novel (Bloomsbury Academic) by Josie Gill.
Josie Gill’s study of race and genetics in late twentieth and early twenty-first century fiction is critically engaged with science and its contexts, lucidly written, and politically urgent. Covering novels by, among others, Zadie Smith, Kazuo Ishiguro, Octavia Butler, and Colson Whitehead, it argues that the idea of race in genetic science is a biofiction, ‘an idea constituted through the complex entanglement of scientific and fictive forms.’ It takes in the sciences relevant to ancestry, human genomic diversity, epigenetics, and examines their relations to the changing social contexts for concepts of ‘race’ and anti-racist politics. In doing so, it illuminates how concepts of ‘race’ remain latent even when contemporary genetic science seems to have undermined the concept. Wearing its scholarship lightly, this outstanding study welcomes both the specialist in contemporary literature, the general reader, and, we hope, readers from the sciences.
Biofictions is available on open access funded by Knowledge Unlatched.