Pascale Petit wins RSL Ondaatje Prize 2018

Pascale Petit, left, receives her award
Pascale Petit, left, receives her award

The annual award of £10,000 for a distinguished work of fiction, non-fiction or poetry, evoking the spirit of a place has been won by Poetry Society Member Pascale Petit for Mama Amazonica (Bloodaxe Books). This is the first time poetry has won the Prize.

Pascale:

“I’m absolutely thrilled to win this particular prize for a book evoking the spirit of a place. I’ve been obsessed with the Amazon rainforest for 25 years, and I poured that obsession into Mama Amazonica. The Amazon has become my mother, in all her abused glory, and through that eco-system I am able to love an estranged and mentally ill parent. I’ve travelled to the Amazon four times, and recently stayed in a research centre deep in the Peruvian pristine jungle, and have observed at close hand how scientists are recording species as they vanish. It was there I saw a jaguar in his home!”

This year’s judges are Tahmima Anam, Eva Hoffman and Daljit Nagra.

Daljit Nagra said:

“Rarely has the personal and environmental lament found such imaginative fusion, such outlandish and shocking expression that is at once spectacularly vigorous, intimate and heartbroken.”

The other shortlisted authors were:

  • Kushanava Choudhury The Epic City (Bloomsbury Circus)
  • Xiaolu Guo Once Upon a Time in the East (Chatto & Windus)
  • Lucy Hughes-Hallett Peculiar Ground (4th Estate)
  • Kapka Kassabova Border (Granta)
  • Fiona Mozley Elmet (JM Originals)

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16 May 2018