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.

Maybe writing was a way of setting myself free from the place [Moscow], a process of disenchantment, of growing out of a love- by describing my love for a place by placing it on a page.
Peter Pomerantsev, winner of the RSL Ondaatje Prize 2016

The 2017 Prize

The closing date for RSL Ondaatje Prize 2017 submissions has now passed.

Please download an application form which includes full submission details.

The 2017 judges are Alexandra Harris, Henry Hitchings and Mimi Khalvati.

RSL Ondaatje Prize 2016 winner
The winner of the RSL Ondaatje Prize 2016 is Peter Pomerantsev with Nothing Is True and Everything Is Possible: The Surreal Heart of the New Russia.

The judges were Kate Adie, Moniza Alvi and Mark Lawson

Other books on the shortlist:

  • 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

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