Mukherjee wins Encore Award

Mukherjee wins Encore Award

Neel Mukherjee has won the £10,000 Encore Award for his novel The Lives of Others (Chatto & Windus).

Chair of the judges Alex Clark said: "We were immensely impressed by the ambition and depth of Neel Mukherjee’s second novel, in which a suburban house in 1960s Calcutta comes to reflect the political and social convulsions of an entire society. Ranging from the mass hunger of the Second World War to independence and the emergence of the Maoist Naxalbari movement, Mukherjee chronicles these extraordinary years in Indian history through the piercingly observed story of one family. 

"As we read further into the story of the Ghoshes – their lives thrown into crisis by an absconding activist son – we became increasingly convinced of the book’s immense qualities and its ability to inform and provoke at the same time as it entertains. We are excited to see what Mukherjee will produce next, and hope very much that the Encore Award will encourage him in his writing life."

Mukherjee said he was "thrilled by my good fortune", describing the Encore Award – given to a second novel, as "a burst of light in what is usually considered to be dark, damp, bleak territory – the dreaded second novel."

Mukherjee’s first novel, A Life Apart, was published in 2010. The Lives of Others was shortlisted for the 2014 Man Booker Prize and the Costa Novel Award. 

He triumphed in a shortlist which also included Amanda Coe's Getting Colder (Virago), Reasons She Goes to the Woods by Deborah Kay Davies (Oneworld), Everland by Rebecca Hunt (Fig Tree), Her by Harriet Lane (Weidenfeld & Nicolson) and The Way Inn by Will Wiles (Fourth Estate). 

Also judging were Kate Summerscale and Sinclair McKay.