Second prize of the year for Francis Spufford's Golden Hill after Costa First Novel Award win in January.
An academic from Goldsmiths, University of London has been awarded the Ondaatje prize for his novel Golden Hill.
Francis Spufford, a Senior Lecturer in Creative Writing, was recognised ahead of four other authors for a story described by the judging panel as ‘a densely-woven portrait of colonial New York, teeming with vitality and humanity’.
The highly-coveted £10,000 prize is awarded by the Royal Society of Literature.
Written in mock 18th century prose, Golden Hill tells the story of young protagonist Richard Smith and his adventures in New York.
A man with a knack for languages and an order for £1,000 in his pocket, he encounters thieves, thespians, lawyers and slaves on his journey.
Golden Hill is Spufford’s first work of fiction, having previously written four successful nonfiction titles including the Orwell-Prize nominated Red Plenty – a focus on the USSR under Nikita Krushchev.
Spufford has already won the 2016 Costa first novel prize for Golden Hill, and is a finalist for the Desmond Elliott First Novel Award, Independent Bookshop Week Book Award and Authors’ Club Best First Novel Award.
He said: “I'm delighted to have won, particularly against such a fine book as Amy Liptrot's ‘The Outrun’, and particularly too because the Ondaatje is a prize that celebrates something close to the centre of the way I seem to work as a writer.
“Place matters a lot to me, imaginatively, visually and emotionally - and though the tiny, embryonic New York I tried to conjure up in Golden Hill is a confabulation, not somewhere I've ever really been, I hope it rings true all the same."