First presented in 1990, The Encore Award honours the sophomore work of an author. Since 2016, it has been administered by The Royal Society of Literature. Speaking on the distinct nature of the award, Lisa Appignanesi, RSL Chair said, “Literary lore, as well as practice, tells us that second novels are ever the most daunting. They even have a syndrome named after them. That’s why I’ve always been particularly fond of the Encore Award, the brilliant prize that acknowledges the difficulties of the second novel.”
In its 30th year, the shortlist consists of For the Good Times (Faber & Faber) by David Keenan, Throw Me to the Wolves (Jonathan Cape) by Patrick McGuinness, My Coney Island Baby (Jonathan Cape) by Billy O’Callaghan, Plastic Emotions (Influx Press) by Shiromi Pinto and Everything You Ever Wanted (Viking) by Luiza Sauma.
The judges are author and professor, Edmund Gordon, novelist Nikita Lalwani and writer Eley Williams. The winner will be announced on June 25, 2020. Last year, Sally Rooney won it for Normal People (Faber & Faber).
The winner will receive £10,000 as prize money. Speaking on Pinto, who was born in London and grew up in Montreal, Lalwani said, “Pinto navigates the politics of desire and genius with skilful understanding, in this elegant imagining of lost feminist icon, Minnette de Silva, the first Sri Lankan architect. The dance between fiction and reality is a noble one, and the map that emerges of architecture as a discipline is fascinating to behold.” On Callaghan, Gordon said, “O’Callaghan’s style is rich and sonorous, and he surveys his characters’ ageing bodies and dwindling horizons with a dauntless eye, yet with such compassion that the final effect is to enhance their dignity.”
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