RSL Ondaatje Prize

This is an annual award of £10,000 for a distinguished work of fiction, non-fiction or poetry, evoking the spirit of a place.

RSL Ondaatje Prize 2015

Open for submissions

We are delighted to announce that the judges for the tweflth annual RSL Ondaatje Prize are Tash Aw, Jonathan Keates and Fiona Sampson. 

The closing date for submissions has now passed

Alan Johnson wins the 2014 RSL Ondaatje Prize with This Boy

“To win any award is great but to win this very special award, essentially for the art of evocation is deeply satisfying. I set out to recreate the streets of my childhood and this prize encourages me to believe I succeeded.”

Alan Johnson

This year's judges were Imtiaz Dharker, A.L. Kennedy and Jenny Uglow.

The 2014 shortlist:

Nadeem Aslam     The Blind Man’s Garden (Faber)

Patrick Barkham         Badgerlands   (Granta)

Mark Dapin                  Spirit House     (Tuskar Rock Press)

Tim Dee                       Four Fields (Jonathan Cape)

Alan Johnson              This Boy   (Bantam Press)

Esther Woolfson          Field Notes From a Hidden City (Granta)

One of this year's judges A.L. Kennedy says of the winning book:

“This Boy is a remarkable autobiography, both passionate and subtle, both moving and gently enraging. It is filled with the geography of childhood and the taut interiors that poverty produces. Never sentimental or self-aggrandising, it is a very human and humane record of a time and a life and a city.”

Download the press release from the bottom of this page for more details on this year's winner and shortlist.

If you have any media enquiries, please contact Annette Brook.

Past Awards

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

Feb 2015

Reflections on war

Edna O’Brien, Andrew O’Hagan, Kate Tempest

Feb 2015

Feb 2015

An eye for life

Ali Smith, Marion Coutts

Mar 2015

Tales of two cities

Mark Doty, Ruth Padel

Apr 2015

Consider the seahorse

Andrew Motion

May 2015

Amnesia and other stories

Peter Carey in conversation with Hermione Lee

Jun 2015

Finding Wonderland

Robert Douglas-Fairhurst

Jul 2015

New stories for old

Natalie Haynes, Helen Oyeyemi, Dubravka Ugresic


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