UCL Royal Literary Fund Fellow awarded the Ondaatje Prize

26 May 2010

Ian Thomson, one of UCL's Royal Literary Fund (RLF) Fellows, has been awarded the Ondaatje Prize for his book about Jamaica, The Dead Yard.

The Dead Yard by Ian Thomson

The Royal Society of Literature £10,000 award is given for a work of fiction, non-fiction or poetry which evokes the 'spirit of a place'.

Thomson's The Dead Yard sees the author walking the streets of Jamaica, describing its poverty, gang rule and police brutality, meeting its people and exploring how the country has changed since independence in 1962.

Society judges Kathleen Jamie, Professor Steve Jones and Penelope Lively said: “For those to whom Jamaica means only music, sunshine and cricket, The Dead Yard will be a revelation. Thomson is a brave writer who takes himself into unexpected, sometime edgy places. The island he describes is a place of verdant beauty, history-ridden, post-colonial with an undertow of disappointment and violence. This is the best kind of travel writing: stimulating, educative and evocative.”

Ian became a Royal Literary Fund Fellow at UCL in September 2009. Fellows offer free one-to-one tutorials in effective academic writing to all UCL students to foster good writing practice across all disciplines within a designated academic year.

To find out more about the work of the RLF Fellows at UCL, follow the links above.

Image above: The Dead Yard


UCL context

The UCL Graduate School is host to UCL's Royal Literary Fund Fellows, professional authors who offer one-to-one tutorials in effective academic writing, free of charge, to all students at UCL. The principal aim of the Fellows' work is to foster good writing practice across all disciplines and media, helping students to write clearly and effectively.

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