The Royal Society of Literature Ondaatje Prize is an annual award
which recognises "a distinguished work of fiction, non-fiction or poetry", which evokes the "spirit of a place", and replaced the previous Winifred Holtby Memorial Prize which was in respect of a work of fiction of a regional character. The prize is worth £10,000 and is endowed by Christopher Ondaatje.
The judges for the 2007 contest were Adam Nicolson, novelist and Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature, Roddy Doyle and Ruth Padel, poet and writer and also a Fellow of the RSA. The shortlist of six books was announced on the 12th April 2007 with the winner's name being announced at a celebratory dinner at The Travellers Club in London on the 30th April 2007.
The winning book was In the Country of Men by Hisham Matar is set in Libya although the author believes that it is "ironic that it was shortlisted, and even more so that it won a prize for evoking a place, considering that I haven't been there for 28 years."