The RSL Ondaatje Prize is an ‘annual award of £10,000 for a distinguished work of fiction, non-fiction or poetry, evoking the spirit of a place’. This year’s judges for the award are Peter Frankopan (Chair), Pascale Petit and Evie Wyld. The Royal Society of Literature, 200 years ‘young’ in 2020 and “is Britain’s charity for the advancement of literature. In addition to the RSL Ondaatje Prize, the RSL runs the
RSL Christopher Bland Prize for best debut from a writer over 50, the Encore Award for best second novel of the year, the V. S. Pritchett Short Story Prize, RSL Literature Matters Awards and the RSL Giles St Aubyn Awards for NonFiction, as well as regular events, young people’s outreach and research into literature in the UK today.”
The shortlist includes Jay Bernard’s Surge, Tishani Doshi’s Small Days and Nights, Robert Macfarlane’s Underland, Roger Robinson’s A Portable Paradise, Elif Shafak, 10 Minutes 38 Seconds in This Strange World, Jumoke Verissimo’s A Small Silence.
Peter Frankopan described Tishani’s work as ‘An astonishing novel that is beautifully written but underpinned by a quiet simmering anger about injustice and unrealistic expectations of a family – and of life in contemporary India.’
Tishani Doshi was born in the city formerly known as Madras. She has published six books of poetry and fiction and has won numerous
awards including: an Eric Gregory Award for Poetry, All-India Poetry Competition, and the 2006 Forward Prize for Best First Collection.
Her debut novel, The Pleasure Seekers was longlisted for the Orange Prize and the International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award. She is
Visiting Professor of Practice, Literature and Creative Writing at New York University, Abu Dhabi.
Featured image courtesy hayfestival.com