Creative Writing lecturer shortlisted for the Royal Society of Literature Ondaatje Prize

Friday, 08 May 2015

Tobias Hill

Oxford Brookes Senior Lecturer in MA Creative Writing, Tobias Hill, has been shortlisted for an award by the Royal Society of Literature (RSL).

The £10,000 RSL Ondaatje Prize is awarded annually to a fiction, non-fiction or poetry book of the highest literary merit which evokes the spirit of a place. 

Tobias Hill’s novel What Was Promised, published by Bloomsbury last spring, is set in 1948, 1968 and 1988. It follows the story of three families brought to London’s East End by the war, whose lives intertwine, unravel and reform over forty years. The book has been shortlisted along with five other works. 

This is a hugely prestigious award and we are very proud of Tobias and his magnificent, moving novel about London and the post-war years.

Prof Simon Kovesi, Head of Department of English and Modern Languages, Oxford Brookes University

Head of Department of English and Modern Languages, Professor Simon Kovesi said: “This is a hugely prestigious award and we are very proud of Tobias and his magnificent, moving novel about London and the post-war years.”

Tobias was born and lives in London and is the author of four collections of poetry, of which the most recent is Nocturne in Chrome and Sunset Yellow as well as one collection of short stories – Skin – which won the Pen-Macmillan Prize for Fiction in 1997. He has also written a children’s book – The Lion Who Ate Everything – and four novels: Underground, The Love Stones, The Cryptographer and The Hidden. Nominated as one of the Best Young Writers in Britain by the TLS in 2004, Tobias was selected as one of the Country’s Next Generation Poets in 2004 and also won the Betty Trask Prize in 1998.

In celebration of Tobias’s work as a writer and teacher, creative writing Teaching Fellows, creative writing students and staff have compiled a collection of readings. The film, Soundings: An Anthology of Oxford Brookes Creative Writing is on the Oxford Brookes YouTube channel  and can be viewed below. 

Judging the esteemed award are writers Tash Aw, Jonathan Keates and Fiona Sampson who commented on the shortlisted books: This is a shortlist notable for its seriousness of intent. It has breadth and variety, as all good shortlists do, but the books on the list display an ambition rarely seen elsewhere.”

“These are the books that grapple with what seem to be the big issues of the world today – they trouble us, and stay with us long after we’ve finished them.”

The winner of the RSL Ondaatje Prize 2015 will be announced on the evening of the 18 May. 

More information about the Oxford Brookes MA Creative Writing course and the Department of English and Modern Languages can be found on the dedicated webpages.