The Royal Society of Literature’s Encore Award

The Encore Award was first presented in 1990 to celebrate the achievement of outstanding second novels. The award fills a niche in the catalogue of literary prizes by celebrating the achievement of outstanding second novels. The RSL has administrated of the award since 2016.

Literary lore as well as practice tells us that second novels are ever the most daunting. They even have a syndrome named after them. That’s why I’ve always been particularly fond of the Encore Award, the brilliant prize that acknowledges the difficulties of the second novel.  I’m thrilled that the RSL will now be a partner in its running. Lisa Appignanesi, RSL Chair.

The 2018 Award

We are delighted to announce that the £10,000 Encore Award 2018 for best second novel of the year is jointly awarded to Andrew Michael Hurley for Devil’s Day (John Murray) and Lisa McInerney for The Blood Miracles (John Murray).

Chair of the judges, Alex Clark comments: ‘Prize juries are reluctant to split awards – probably because it looks either as though they can’t make up their minds, or that there was deadlock. Happily, neither occurred in this case: we simply couldn’t put a cigarette paper between these two splendid novels and wanted to acknowledge and reward them both. But we’d also like to make absolutely clear that our decision doesn’t diminish the rest of what was a brilliant shortlist – each author more than earned their place and we’d like to congratulate all of them heartily. Third novels all round, please.’

Please read the press release for more information.

The shortlist for the 2018 Encore Award:

  • Claire Fuller Swimming Lessons (Fig Tree)
  • Andrew Michael Hurley Devil’s Day (John Murray)
  • Lisa McInerney The Blood Miracles (John Murray)
  • Fiona Melrose Johannesburg (Corsair)
  • Chibundu Onuzo Welcome To Lagos (Faber & Faber)
  • Natasha Pulley The Bedlam Stacks (Bloomsbury Circus)

The 2018 judges for are the literary journalist Alex Clark (Chair), poet and children’s writer Julia Copus, and Ted Hodgkinson, Senior Programmer for Literature and Spoken Word at Southbank Centre.

The winners were announced on Wednesday 9 May 2018.

Press enquiries should be sent to Annette Brook, Communications Manager,, 020 7845 4680.

Past Awards

2017Ian McGuireThe North Water
2015Sunjeev SahotaThe Year of the Runaways
2014Neel MukherjeeThe Lives of Others
2013Evie WyldAll the Birds, Singing
2012Ned BeaumanThe Teleportation Accident
2011Joe DunthorneWild Abandon
2010Adam FouldsThe Quickening Maze
2009Julia LeighDisquiet
2007M.J. HylandCarry Me Down
2005Nadeem AslamMaps for Lost Lovers
2004Michelle de KretserThe Hamilton Case
2003Jeremy GavronThe Book of Israel
2002Ali SmithHotel World
2001Anne EnrightWhat Are You Like?
2000Claire MessudThe Last Life
1999Christina KoningUndiscovered Country
1998*Alan Warner
Timothy O’Grady
These Demented Lands
I could Read the Sky
1997David FlusfederLike Plastic
1996A.L. KennedySo I Am Glad
1995Dermot HealyA Goat’s Song
1994Amit ChaudhuriAfternoon Raag
1993Colm TóibínThe Heather Blazing
1992Iain SinclairDownriver
1991Carey HarrisonRichard’s Feet
1990*Paul Watkins
Peter Benson
Calm at Sunset, Calm at Dawn
A Lesser Dependency

*Joint winners