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Longlist unveiled for £10,000 RSL Ondaatje Prize

The prize is awarded to an outstanding work of fiction, non-fiction or poetry that ‘best evokes the spirit of a place’.

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Francesca Wade has made the longlist of this year’s Royal Society of Literature (RSL) Ondaatje Prize for her book Square Haunting (Ondaatje Prize/PA)

Francesca Wade has made the longlist of this year’s Royal Society of Literature (RSL) Ondaatje Prize for her book Square Haunting (Ondaatje Prize/PA)

Francesca Wade has made the longlist of this year’s Royal Society of Literature (RSL) Ondaatje Prize for her book Square Haunting (Ondaatje Prize/PA)

The 13-book longlist for this year’s Royal Society of Literature (RSL) Ondaatje Prize has been unveiled.

The £10,000 prize is awarded to an outstanding work of fiction, non-fiction or poetry that “best evokes the spirit of a place,” according to organisers.

Included on the longlist are Catherine Fletcher’s The Beauty And The Terror, which explores Renaissance Italy’s role in the rise of the West, and This Lovely City, Louise Hare’s novel about a Jamaican immigrant living in post-war London.

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The Beauty and the Terror, Catherine Fletcher

The Beauty and the Terror, Catherine Fletcher

The Beauty and the Terror, Catherine Fletcher

Caroline O’Donoghue made the list with Scenes Of A Graphic Nature, Monique Roffey with The Mermaid Of Black Conch and James Rebanks with English Pastoral.

Other longlisted books include Adam Mars-Jones’ Box Hill, Francesca Wade’s Square Haunting and Gareth E Rees’ Unofficial Britain.

The 13 authors were chosen by judges Lola Young, Helen Mort and Adam Rutherford.

The Ondaatje Prize was first awarded in 2004 with the remit of creating lists of outstanding works and authors “you would not usually find sitting side by side,” according to organisers.

Previous winners include Roger Robinson, Aida Edemariam, Edmund de Waal, Hisham Matar and Louisa Waugh.

The 2021 RSL Ondaatje Prize shortlist will be announced on April 27, with the winner revealed on May 11.

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