St Anne’s DPhil Candidate, Yousif Qasmiyeh, and St Anne’s Honorary Fellow, Elif Shafak, shortlisted for prestigious RSL Ondaatje Prize

We are proud to announce that St Anne’s DPhil candidate in English, Yousif Qasmiyeh, has been shortlisted for the prestigious Royal Society of Literature Ondaatje Prize for his book, Writing the Camp, alongside St Anne’s Honorary Fellow, Elif Shafak, for her book The Island of Missing Trees. An annual prize of £10,000, the RSL Ondaatje Prize is awarded by the RSL to an outstanding work of fiction, non-fiction or poetry that best evokes the spirit of a place.

There are six authors on the shortlist, chosen from twenty-one on this year’s longlist. Authors were selected by judges Patrice Lawrence, Chair Sandeep Parmar and Philippe Sands.

The 2022 RSL Ondaatje shortlist is:
A.K. Blakemore, The Manningtree Witches (Granta)
Cal Flyn, Islands of Abandonment: Life in the Post-Human Landscape (William Collins)
Yousif M. Qasmiyeh, Writing the Camp (Broken Sleep Books)
Sathnam Sanghera, Empireland (Viking)
Elif Shafak, The Island of Missing Trees (Penguin)
Lea Ypi, Free (Allen Lane)

Yousif M. Qasmiyeh said “In the refugee camp, the spirit of the place does not only belong to the camp itself, but also, and always, to places that lie before and after the camp. It is a huge honour for Writing the Camp to be shortlisted for the 2022 RSL Ondaatje Prize and for refugees and their places, wherever they are, to be recognised in their own right.”

Elif Shafak said “I am utterly thrilled and honoured to be shortlisted for the RSL Ondaatje Prize. A sense of place in literature, as in life, is always much more than a location, a landscape or a setting for a story. Place, for me, is primarily about memory, identity, belonging, migration; it is about being rooted, deracinated and finding new roots. Place is both home and exile.”

The 2022 RSL Ondaatje Prize winner will be announced on 4 May at Two Temple Place. Congratulations and good luck to all the authors!