News Americas, NEW YORK, NY, Fri. May 8, 2020: A Trinidad-born, British national has won the 2020 Royal Society of Literature distinguished prize for work of fiction, non-fiction, or poetry, evoking the spirit of a place.
Roger Robinson, a former student of Naparima College, Trinidad, was awarded the 2020 RSL Ondaatje Prize on May 4, 2020 for ‘A Portable Paradise’ (Peepal Tree Press). He is now £10,000 richer.
‘Winning the RSL Ondaatje Prize is great on many levels. Gaining wider recognition for the political issues that are raised in A Portable Paradise is one of the most important things for me, alongside more people reading about the struggles of black communities in Britain which hopefully creates some deeper resonating empathy,’ Robinson said.
In addition to Portable Paradise, he has also published a book of short fiction, Adventures in 3D (2001); poetry pamphlets Suitcase (2004) and Suckle, the latter winning the Peoples Book Prize in 2009. His first full poetry collection, The Butterfly Hotel was published by Peepal Tree Press in 2012.
Robinson is a co-founder of both Spoke Lab and the international writing collective Malika’s Kitchen. He is also the lead vocalist and lyricist for King Midas Sound.
Portable Paradise won the 2019 T. S. Eliot Prize and was selected as a New Statesman book of the year.
Peter Frankopan, Chair of 2020 Judges for the Royal Society of Literature commented of that work: “A fabulous and ingenious work that seethes in its condemnation of injustices but sparkles in its tenderness and subtlety and revels in celebration at the things that make us all unique. It made me laugh and cry.”
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