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 2021

The 2021 Award is now closed for entries. The shortlist and winner will be announced in late spring.

This year’s judges are Sian Cain, Nikita Lalwani and Paul Muldoon.

The Winner 2020

The winner of the 2020 Encore Award was Patrick McGuinness with Throw Me to the Wolves (Jonathan Cape). This was the 30th year of the Award.

The judges were RSL Fellows: Edmund Gordon, Nikita Lalwani and Eley Williams.

Please read the press release for further information.

Other books on the 2020 Shortlist were:

  • David Keenan – For the Good Times (Faber & Faber)
  • Billy O’Callaghan – My Coney Island Baby (Jonathan Cape)
  • Shiromi Pinto – Plastic Emotions (Influx Press)
  • Luiza Sauma – Everything You Ever Wanted (Viking)

Press enquiries should be sent to Annette Brook, Communications Manager, [email protected].

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

Watch the 2020 winner announcement below:


In celebration of the 30th year of the Award previous winners share their reflections on winning best second novel:

Past Awards
*Joint winners

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