Sunjeev’s Sahota’s second novel, the Booker-shortlisted The Year of the Runaways, has won the Encore Award for 2015, which celebrates the literary achievements of outstanding second novels.
Alex Clark, chair of the judges, said: “This year’s award brought us some truly marvellous writing, and a shortlist that thrilled us all. Aside from the novels under immediate consideration, we were excited by the thought of the books that were to come; each of these writers displays an ambition and talent that we are confident will continue to develop in fascinating ways. After much conversation, we were delighted to award the Encore to a book that - to invoke to a cliché - simply took our breath away. We await Sunjeev Sahota’s next work with eagerness. And having judged the prize for many years, I am once again convinced of its usefulness, and grateful to its founder Lucy Astor for her longstanding and generous commitment.”
Julia Copus said: “Of all the books we looked at, this was the one that kept me up at night; the one whose extraordinary characters I went to bed worrying about, and hurried back to at every opportunity.”
Ted Hodgkinson said: “Despite strong competition from a superb shortlist, we were bowled over by the boundless compassion and daring sweep of Sunjeev Sahota’s The Year of the Runaways.”