RSL Ondaatje Prize

The annual award of £10,000 for a distinguished work of fiction, non-fiction or poetry, evoking the spirit of a place.

RSL Ondaatje Prize 2018

We are delighted to announce the shortlist for the RSL Ondaatje Prize 2018:

  • Kushanava Choudhury The Epic City (Bloomsbury Circus)
  • Xiaolu Guo Once Upon a Time in the East (Chatto & Windus)
  • Lucy Hughes-Hallett Peculiar Ground (4th Estate)
  • Kapka Kassabova Border (Granta)
  • Fiona Mozley Elmet (JM Originals)
  • Pascale Petit Mama Amazonica (Bloodaxe Books)

Please read the press release for more information.

This year’s judges are Tahmima Anam, Eva Hoffman and Daljit Nagra.

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

The winner will be announced on Monday 14 May.


RSL Ondaatje Prize 2017

The RSL Ondaatje Prize 2017 was awarded to Francis Spufford for Golden Hill. For more information on the winner please see our press release.

Place has always been central to my work, so I’m delighted to win this prize of all prizes.  The 18th century New York of my book had to be conjured from maps and analogies and a few contemporary pictures, supported by walks round and round Lower Manhattan with my eyes fixed on the pavements rather than the skyscrapers.  It’s a joy to find that what I built in my head seems solid enough for others to walk in, in their imaginations.

Francis Spufford on winning the RSL Ondaatje Prize 2017


Past Awards

2017Francis SpuffordGolden Hill
2016Peter PomerantsevNothing Is True and Everything Is Possible: The Surreal Heart of the New Russia
2015Justin MarozziBaghdad: City of Peace, City of Blood
2014Alan JohnsonThis Boy
2013Philip HensherScenes from Early Life
2012Rahul BhattacharyaThe Sly Company of People Who Care
2011Edmund de WaalThe Hare with Amber Eyes
2010Ian ThomsonThe Dead Yard: Tales of Modern Jamaica
2009Adam NicolsonSissinghurst: An Unfinished History
2008Graham RobbThe Discovery of France
2007Hisham MatarIn the Country of Men
2006James MeekThe People’s Act of Love
2005Rory StewartThe Places In Between
2004Louisa WaughHearing Birds Fly