Spufford wins £10k Ondaatje Prize

Spufford wins £10k Ondaatje Prize

Francis Spufford has won the Royal Society of Literature’s £10,000 Ondaatje Prize for his debut novel Golden Hill (Faber).

Spufford, a creative writing teacher at Goldsmiths College, University of London, adds the award to his growing list of accolades after winning the 2016 Costa First novel prize and after being shortlisted for the Desmond Elliott first novel award.

Judge Henry Hitchings said the novel, set in 18th century New York, was a “rare thing - an ingenious novel that draws on profound research to evoke the spirit of another age, yet wears that research lightly”.

Fellow judge Mimi Khalvati meanwhile praised the work for being “joyously written in mock 18th century prose…a remarkable evocation of New York in its infancy”.

Khalvati added it was an “unpredictable, exhilarating, protean novel” which also captures “the vein of darkness, the fear of the other, that runs through American history”.

Spufford is the author of five non-fiction novels and lives in Cambridge.