The Nation’s Favourite Second Novel

What is Britain’s favourite second novel? Please help us find out – by voting for your favourite title from our list.

Second novels are a notorious challenge for writers. Whether their first novel was a triumph or a flop, the pressure is always on the follow-up. But what do readers make of second novels? Do we even know which of our favourite novels are second novels?  We have decided to hold a public vote to raise literary awareness and discussion. We hope above all that the process will encourage people to read more novels.

We will announce the Nation’s Favourite Second Novel  on Wednesday 5 April. On the same day we will be announcing the winner of the 2017 RSL Encore Award for the best new second novel of the year.

We are grateful to everyone who nominated books for the vote in our open call for suggestions in January. The final voting list has been agreed by the RSL’s governing Council. We know that there will be strong views about books that have been included or left out!  We welcome your comments, or do join the discussion on our Facebook page. Some of our Fellows discuss writing their own second novels in our recent RSL Review article.

View the full voting list as a PDF.

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In selecting the books for the voting list, we have used the following criteria:

  • Each book is the second full novel published by its author (not necessailry the second novel the author has written). Novellas, collections of short stories and any non-fiction works are not counted.
  • The writers may be living or dead and may come from any nation.
  • The books may have been written in any language, but must be available in English. The second novel judgement is based on order of original publication, not order of publication in translation.
  • Novels written by members of the RSL Council, or by the RSL’s Presidents and Vice-Presidents, have been excluded, as have all the novels entered for the 2017 Encore Award.
  • We hope that the voting list overall includes a varied and fascinating range of novels. We realise that lots of great novelists are missing from the list – usually because we felt that their second novel is not well-known or accomplished enough to attract many votes. We apologise in advance for any glaring omissions – and look forward to hearing your views.