We are excited to announce that Francis Spufford has won the 2022 Encore Award for Light Perpetual (Faber & Faber). The annual Prize of £10,000 is awarded for best second novel of the year.
‘If the defining characteristic of fiction is “making it up,” Francis Spufford’s Light Perpetual is a triumph in the form. Opening with an actual V-2 attack on the New Cross Road branch of Woolworths in 1944 that killed 168 people, Spufford invents five children and imagines their lives as if they did not die that day, telling their alternative histories through the 20th century. This version of “what might have been” affords us memorable and moving insights into what we have come to think of as our own reality. Light Perpetual is a bold and poignant novel, one that encourages the reader to fully comprehend that the lives of others, even people they have not and will never meet, are as vivid and filled with meaning as their own; a remarkable work of empathy. This is an assured second novel from Spufford, who has fast become one of Britain’s most exciting fiction writers after his debut Golden Hill. It is a great pleasure to award this novel the Encore, and to wonder at what he might write next.’
– Encore Award Judges Sian Cain, Paul Muldoon and Nikesh Shukla
‘I’m unusually old for a second-time novelist, having taken so long to get up my courage to write fiction – but that makes me all the more grateful, and all the more heartened, for the vote of confidence the Encore Award represents. It’s a beacon for writers of any age who are negotiating the tricky territory that follows a first book. It’s a call to persist, as you discover how rich and how plural the art is in which you’re taking your second step.’
– Francis Spufford, Winner of the Encore Award 2022
Watch our announcement video here: