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Isabella Hammad wins the RSL Encore Award

Isabella Hammad has won the newly boosted RSL Encore Award for her second novel Enter Ghost (Vintage), now worth £15,000. 

The Encore RSL award celebrates the second novel, marking the achievements of authors moving beyond their literary debuts. It was first presented in 1990 and has been administrated by the RSL since 2016.

Hammad said said: "Everyone loves a debut, but I think it may actually be in the tricky transition from the first book to the second that a writer really becomes a writer. The second novel is also a famously hard moment for writers who are still at the beginning of their careers, so prizes like this are incredibly valuable for both the material support they offer and the recognition."

Enter Ghost follows Sonia, a British Palestinian actress who flees a failed marriage and love affair in London to stay with her sister in the West Bank.

The judges described the book "as profound as it is powerful, exploring in beautiful prose the essential, humanising importance of art in a world overthrown by conflict".    

They added: "In a voice that is always original Hammad takes one of the most intractable and polarising conflicts of our time and creates a story braided through with compassion and wisdom. The political, she reminds us, is always human."


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