Prizes, grants and awards

The Encore Award

The Encore Award – now awarded biennially – was first awarded in 1990. The next Award will be given in 2009 for the best second novel of 2007 and 2008.

The 2009 shortlist

The judges of this year’s Encore Award for the best second novel of 2007 and 2008 – Alex Clark, Lindsay Duguid and Peter Parker – have chosen a shortlist of seven novels, set in New Zealand, Europe, India and the Home Counties. The winner of the £10,000 prize will be announced on the 19th May 2009. 

  • Judy Corbalis – Mortmain (Chatto)
  • Eva Hoffman – Illuminations (Harvill Secker)
  • Panos Karnezis – The Birthday Party (Cape)
  • Julia Leigh – Disquiet (Faber)
  • Adam Mars-Jones – Pilcrow (Faber)
  • Sujit Saraf – The Peacock Throne (Sceptre)
  • Indra Sinha – Animal’s People (Simon & Schuster)


Judy Corbalis – Mortmain (Chatto)

Mortmain traces the gradual entanglement of the members of three families in rural New Zealand between the wars, following their lives from childhood to maturity. A short, dense novel, with many disconcerting plot twists, it brings together human and animal characters to provide a richly realized view of Maori culture and colonial history.

New Zealand-born author Judy Corbalis has written a number of award-winning books for children. She is a former Hawthornden Fellow and the inaugural RLF Fellow at the Courtauld Institute of Art. Her first novel, Tapu, is currently in development as a film.

Eva Hoffman – Illuminations (Harvill Secker)

Illuminations is the story of a talented and privileged concert pianist, whose assumptions about civilization and her place in it are challenged by an affair with a political exile from Chechnya. The world they inhabit is that of international airports, hotels and diplomatic parties, but the novel’s serious themes are art, music and politics.

Eva Hoffman was born in Cracow, moved to the US in her teens, and now lives in London. She has received the Guggenheim Fellowship, the Whiting Award and an award from the American Academy and Institute of Arts and Letters. She is the author of Lost in Translation.

Panos Karnezis – The Birthday Party (Cape)

The Birthday Party is a fable of wickedness punished, which makes something original and vivid out of the almost mythic story of the Onassis family. The narrative – expansive and distinctly European in feel – crisscrosses the world like one of the tycoon’s own ships.

Panos Karnezis was born in Greece, moving to England in his twenties to study. He now lives in London and is the author of a collection of short stories, Little Infamies. His first novel The Maze was shortlisted for the Whitbread First Novel Award.

Julia Leigh – Disquiet (Faber)

Disquiet is a spare, elliptical novel in which a woman returns with her children to her childhood home in rural France. A sense of mystery pervades the book as the baleful atmosphere of the decaying château is invaded by its New World visitors. A brilliantly distilled, disturbing glimpse into an abyss.

Julia Leigh lives in Sydney, Australia, and is the author of The Hunter, which was awarded a Betty Trask Award and the Prix de L’Astrolabe in 2001.

Adam Mars-Jones – Pilcrow (Faber)

Pilcrow is narrated by an articulate, chronically sick boy, who uses language to make his way in, and exercise some control over, a world that his body finds difficult to negotiate. Wittily evocative of the 1950s and utterly unsentimental, it is written from a double perspective, with the narrator present as the boy undergoing these experiences and also as the adult looking back on them, childlike simplicity alternating with playful elaboration.

Adam Mars-Jones won a Somerset Maugham Award for his first book of stories, Lantern Lectures, in 1987. He has been twice listed on Granta’s Best of Young British Novelists – despite at that stage never having written a novel. His first novel was The Waters of Thirst.

Sujit Saraf – The Peacock Throne (Sceptre)

The Peacock Throne sets a huge cast of characters against a backdrop of communal violence and political corruption in Old Delhi in the years following the assassination of Indira Ghandi in 1984. An energetic satire on modern Indian politics, the novel exerts a strong narrative pull, its multiple plots by turns shocking and funny, as the lives of individuals, who are separated by caste and religion, cross and intersect. The characters may be corrupt and self-serving but they are extremely good company.

Sujit Saraf was born in Bijar, India in 1969, and is currently a research scientist in space missions and satellite control, living in San Jose, California. He the co-founded a theatre group, Nataak, for which he has written and directed plays and feature films and is the author of a novel, Limbo.

Indra Sinha – Animal’s People (Simon & Schuster)

Animal’s People, a disturbing, often funny novel, was shortlisted for the 2007 Man Booker Prize. The story, set in Khaufpur – Bhopal by another name – is narrated by a foul-mouthed teenaged boy, left orphaned and severely disabled in the wake of a toxic gas leak. Nicknamed Animal, he can only walk on all fours, an identity he embraces with a fierce independence of spirit. As the characters attempt to win compensation from the multi-national company responsible, battle is joined between the traditionally powerful and those who have their own kind of power because they have nothing left.

Indira Sinha was born in India and spent his childhood in Bombay and the Western Ghats. He is the author of a work of non-fiction, The Cybergypsies, and a first novel, The Death of Mr Love.


To download the Encore Award shortlist click here

For further information contact Paula Johnson on 020 7373 6642 or at

The next prize will be awarded in 2011 (for books published in 2009 and 2010).  The entry form for this prize will be available later in the year.