James Naughtie’s new thriller, as I mentioned earlier, has won praise in The Scotsman partly for its evocation of Paris. It sounds to me like just the kind of book that could end up being entered for the RSL Ondaatje Prize, an annual award of £10,000 for “a distinguished work of fiction, non-fiction or poetry evoking the spirit of a place”.
The judges for this year’s prize — the broadcaster Kate Adie, the writer and critic Mark Lawson and the poet Moniza Alvi — are due to reveal their six shortlisted books by early in May; the winner will be announced at a dinner at the Travellers Club in London on May 23. Meanwhile, courtesy of the Royal Society of Literature, I have a prize of my own to offer: all six of the books that were shortlisted last year.
The winning book was Baghdad: City of Peace, City of Blood by Justin Marozzi (Penguin), a winning fusion of Marozzi’s talents as travel writer and historian, with reportage on the modern city leading smoothly into research into the ancient one. The other shortlisted titles were:
Capital: The Eruption of Delhi by Rana Dasgupta (Canongate)
The Lie by Helen Dunmore (Windmill)
What Was Promised by Tobias Hill (Bloomsbury)
Everything is Wonderful by Sigrid Rausing (Grove Press)
The Architect’s Apprentice by Elif Shafak (Penguin).
Terms and conditions
Entrants must retweet the mention of the RSL prize on Twitter by midnight on Wednesday May 4. Only one copy of each of the six short-listed titles is available to the winner, who must be resident in the United Kingdom. The winner will be selected at random and notified by Monday, May 16. Unsuccessful entrants will not be contacted. For more information about the Ondaatje Prize, please see the Royal Society of Literature’s website.