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.

Before this was a book, before I was even a published journalist, I began writing up passages about the Moscow that I was living in 2010. I did this because I felt the need to save and in a sense rescue the place I was living in before it passed away, to hold onto it and explain to myself why I was so enthralled by it and had spent a near decade unable to tear myself away from it. Maybe writing was a way of setting myself free from the place, a process of disenchantment, of growing out of a love- by describing my love for a place by placing it on a page. In any case I did it instinctively, as if called to. Much later the book became known for many other things, largely political or to be exact as an analysis of new forms of propaganda, but that was only ever of secondary, or even tertiary, importance to me. I did it to get out, to be able to leave, to displace myself. And to take it with me.
Peter Pomerantsev, winner of the RSL Ondaatje Prize 2016



RSL Ondaatje Prize 2016 winner announced

We are delighted to announce the winner of the RSL Ondaatje Prize 2016 is Peter Pomeransev with Nothing Is True and Everything Is Possible: The Surreal Heart of the New Russia. This year’s judges are Kate Adie, Moniza Alvi and Mark Lawson

Other books on the shortlist were:

  • Jane Clarke The River (Bloodaxe)
  • Brian Dillon The Great Explosion (Penguin Books)
  • Alexandra Harris Weatherland (Thames & Hudson)
  • James Rebanks The Shepherd’s Life (Allen Lane)
  • Samanth Subramanian This Divided Island (Atlantic Books)

For full details please download the press release.

If you have any media enquiries, please contact Annette Brook: or call 020 7845 4680.


Past Awards

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