The long list was announced yesterday for the Royal Society of Literature’s Ondaatje Prize, an annual award of £10,000 for a book — fiction, non-fiction or poetry — that best evokes “the spirit of a place”. (And you’d have read that here yesterday had something not gone wrong with a post I scheduled to go live at midday.) Now, more than ever, the society says, we are looking for literature to transport us somewhere else. The 18 titles (including several of my own favourites from last year) can be found on the society’s website.
Each writer has been asked the following two questions:
- Why is place important in your book?
- Which book best evokes the spirit of place for you?
Their answers are appearing in a thread on Twitter.
The short list for the prize will be announced on April 20 and the winner on May 4. The judges this year are Peter Frankopan, historian and author of the bestselling The Silk Roads: A New History of the World; Pascale Petit, poet and winner of the Ondaatje in 2018 for her seventh collection, Mama Amazonica; and the novelist (and bookseller) Evie Wyld, author of the prizewinning titles After the Fire, A Still Small Voice and All the Birds, Singing.