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.

RSL Ondaatje Prize 2017 – winner announced

The winner of the RSL Ondaatje Prize 2017 is Francis Spufford with Golden Hill. For more information on the winner please see our press release.

Place has always been central to my work, so I’m delighted to win this prize of all prizes.  The 18th century New York of my book had to be conjured from maps and analogies and a few contemporary pictures, supported by walks round and round Lower Manhattan with my eyes fixed on the pavements rather than the skyscrapers.  It’s a joy to find that what I built in my head seems solid enough for others to walk in, in their imaginations.

Francis Spufford on winning the RSL Ondaatje Prize 2017

The other books shortlisted for the 2017 RSL Ondaatje Prize:

  • Amy Liptrot The Outrun (Canongate)
  • Rebecca Mackenzie In a Land of Paper Gods (Tinder Press)
  • Kei Miller Augustown (Weidenfeld & Nicolson)
  • Barney Norris Five Rivers Met on a Wooded Plain (Black Swan)
  • Rose Tremain The Gustav Sonata (Chatto & Windus)

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

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


Past Awards

2016 Peter Pomerantsev Nothing Is True and Everything Is Possible: The Surreal Heart of the New Russia
2015 Justin Marozzi Baghdad: City of Peace, City of Blood
2014 Alan Johnson This Boy
2013 Philip Hensher Scenes from Early Life
2012 Rahul Bhattacharya The Sly Company of People Who Care
2011 Edmund de Waal The Hare with Amber Eyes
2010 Ian Thomson The Dead Yard: Tales of Modern Jamaica
2009 Adam Nicolson Sissinghurst: An Unfinished History
2008 Graham Robb The Discovery of France
2007 Hisham Matar In the Country of Men
2006 James Meek The People’s Act of Love
2005 Rory Stewart The Places In Between
2004 Louisa Waugh Hearing Birds Fly