Jumoke Verissimo’s debut novel A Small Silence is on the Royal Society of London’s Ondaatje Prize 2020 Longlist announced on March 26, 2020.
The Royal Society of Literature’s Ondaatje Prize is an annual award of £10,000 for a distinguished work of fiction, non-fiction or poetry, best evoking the spirit of a place. The prize is sponsored by Sir Christopher Ondaatje and has been running for the last fifteen years. Previous winners have been Aida Edemariam (2019), Pascale Petit (2018), Francis Spufford (2017), Peter Pomerantsev (2016), and Justin Marozzi (2015). Africans who have been in the running, but never won the award, include Aminatta Forna, Emmanuel Iduma, and Jamal Mahjoub.
Those who are in the running for this year’s award have been announced by this year’s judges Peter Frankopan (Chair), Pascale Petit and Evie Wyld and they include Jumoke Verissimo’s novel A Small Silence. The full longlist is as follows;
- Jay Bernard, Surge, (Chatto & Windus)
- Jane Clarke, When the Tree Falls, (Bloodaxe Books)
- Laura Cumming, On Chapel Sands, (Chatto & Windus)
- Tishani Doshi, Small Days and Nights, (Bloomsbury Circus)
- Lucy Ellmann, Ducks, Newburyport, (Galley Beggar Press)
- Luan Goldie, Nightingale Point, (HQ Fiction)
- Adam Higginbotham, Midnight in Chernobyl, (Bantam Press)
- Kathleen Jamie, Surfacing, (Sort of Books)
- Robert Macfarlane, Underland, (Hamish Hamilton)
- Tim Mackintosh-Smith, Arabs: A 3,000-Year History of Peoples, Tribes, and Empires, (Yale University Press London)
- Philip Marsden, The Summer Isles, (Granta Books)
- Robert Minhinnick, Nia, (Seren)
- Anita Mir, The Inside City, (Unbound Digital)
- Max Porter, Lanny, (Faber & Faber)
- Roger Robinson, A Portable Paradise, (Peepal Tree Press)
- Elif Shafak, 10 Minutes 38 Seconds in This Strange World, (Viking)
- Anna Sherman, The Bells of Old Tokyo: Travels in Japanese Time, (Picador)
- Jumoke Verissimo, A Small Silence, (Cassava Republic)
The 2020 shortlist will be announced on Tuesday, April 20 and the winner will be announced on Monday, May 4.