Penguin Random House is leading the £10,000 Royal Society of Literature's Ondaatje Prize 2017 shortlist with two nominations. Rose Tremain’s “pitch-perfect” novel The Gustav Sonata (PRH division Chatto & Windus) and “lyrical love song to Salisbury” Five Rivers Met on a Wooded Plain (PRH imprint Black Swan) by Barney Norris are both nominated for the award which recognises “the highest literary merit – fiction, non-fiction or poetry – which best evokes the spirit of a place”.
Amy Liptrot’s memoir The Outrun (Canongate) is also on the six-strong shortlist with the only other indie publisher nomination coming from Faber's Golden Hill by novelist and Goldsmiths’ College tutor Francis Spufford. Rebecca Mackenzie’s “funny and heartbreaking” debut In a Land of Paper Gods (Headline’s imprint Tinder Press) is also listed alongside Augustown (Orion’s imprint Weidenfeld & Nicolson) by Kei Miller which spans “two centuries of life, faith and story-telling in Jamaica”.
The 2017 judges are Alexandra Harris, Henry Hitchings and Mimi Khalvati and the prize is now in its 14th year. The winner will be announced on 8th May.
A charity for advancement of literature, the RSL also runs the Encore Award for best second novel of the year and the V. S. Pritchett Memorial Prize for short stories, as well as regular events, and manages a schools outreach programme.