The 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. The RSL has administrated the award since 2016.

The Encore Award 2022

We are excited to announce that Francis Spufford has won the 2022 Encore Award for Light Perpetual (Faber & Faber). The annual Prize of £10,000 is awarded for best second novel of the year.

‘If the defining characteristic of fiction is “making it up,” Francis Spufford’s Light Perpetual is a triumph in the form. Opening with an actual V-2 attack on the New Cross Road branch of Woolworths in 1944 that killed 168 people, Spufford invents five children and imagines their lives as if they did not die that day, telling their alternative histories through the 20th century. This version of “what might have been” affords us memorable and moving insights into what we have come to think of as our own reality. Light Perpetual is a bold and poignant novel, one that encourages the reader to fully comprehend that the lives of others, even people they have not and will never meet, are as vivid and filled with meaning as their own; a remarkable work of empathy. This is an assured second novel from Spufford, who has fast become one of Britain’s most exciting fiction writers after his debut Golden Hill. It is a great pleasure to award this novel the Encore, and to wonder at what he might write next.’
– Encore Award Judges Sian Cain, Paul Muldoon and Nikesh Shukla

‘I’m unusually old for a second-time novelist, having taken so long to get up my courage to write fiction – but that makes me all the more grateful, and all the more heartened, for the vote of confidence the Encore Award represents. It’s a beacon for writers of any age who are negotiating the tricky territory that follows a first book. It’s a call to persist, as you discover how rich and how plural the art is in which you’re taking your second step.’
– Francis Spufford, Winner of the Encore Award 2022

Watch our announcement video here: 

Read the press release for more information.

This year’s five shortlisted novels, as chosen by judges Sian Cain, Nikesh Shukla and Paul Muldoon, are:

The High House Jessie Greengrass (Swift Press)

Maxwell’s Demon Steven Hall (Canongate)

The Giant Dark Sarvat Hasin (Little Brown)

Light Perpetual Francis Spufford (Faber & Faber)

Asylum Road Olivia Sudjic (Bloomsbury)

For press enquiries relating to the Encore Award please contact Clair Chamberlain at Bread and Butter PR: [email protected]

For questions about awards and prizes, please contact Martha Stenhouse, General Manager, [email protected].

You can support us and independent bookshops by purchasing shortlisted titles from our store:


Past Awards
*Joint winners

2021 Caoilinn Hughes The Wild Laughter
2020 Patrick McGuinness Throw Me to the Wolves
2019 Sally Rooney  Normal People
2018* Andrew Michael Hurley
Lisa McInerney
Devil’s Day
The Blood Miracles
2017 Ian McGuire The North Water
2015 Sunjeev Sahota The Year of the Runaways
2014 Neel Mukherjee The Lives of Others
2013 Evie Wyld All the Birds, Singing
2012 Ned Beauman The Teleportation Accident
2011 Joe Dunthorne Wild Abandon
2010 Adam Foulds The Quickening Maze
2009 Julia Leigh Disquiet
2007 M.J. Hyland Carry Me Down
2005 Nadeem Aslam Maps for Lost Lovers
2004 Michelle de Kretser The Hamilton Case
2003 Jeremy Gavron The Book of Israel
2002 Ali Smith Hotel World
2001 Anne Enright What Are You Like?
2000* John Burnside
Claire Messud
Matt Thorne
Phil Whitaker
The Mercy Boys
The Last Life
Eight Minutes Idle
1999 Christina Koning Undiscovered Country
1998* Alan Warner
Timothy O’Grady
These Demented Lands
I could Read the Sky
1997 David Flusfeder Like Plastic
1996 A.L. Kennedy So I Am Glad
1995 Dermot Healy A Goat’s Song
1994 Amit Chaudhuri Afternoon Raag
1993 Colm Tóibín The Heather Blazing
1992 Iain Sinclair Downriver
1991 Carey Harrison Richard’s Feet
1990* Paul Watkins
Peter Benson
Calm at Sunset, Calm at Dawn
A Lesser Dependency