Isabella Hammad wins Royal Society’s 2024 Encore Award

Isabella Hammad’s novel Enter Ghost has won the Royal Society’s 2024 Encore Award, adding another accolade to its impressive list of honours, per

The book, published by Penguin Random House / Vintage, was also shortlisted for the UK’s Women’s Prize for Fiction. The Encore Award, dedicated to recognising second novels, is a prestigious honour in the literary world.

The Royal Society’s jury praised Enter Ghost for its depth and impact. The novel tells the story of Sonia, a British Palestinian actress who, after a failed marriage and love affair in London, moves to the West Bank to stay with her sister. The narrative explores family tensions, lost love and the Israeli occupation, culminating in a dramatic production of Hamlet amidst Israeli troops. The jury highlighted Hammad’s original voice and her compassionate, wise storytelling, emphasising the humanity within the political.

Upon receiving the award, Hammad reflected on the challenges of writing a second novel. She noted, “Second novels are notoriously difficult—not only to write, but also to sell. Everyone loves a debut, but it may actually be in the tricky transition from the first book to the second that a writer really becomes a writer.”

The Encore Award provides a substantial prize of £15,000 to Hammad and £1,000 to each of her fellow shortlistees, up from previous years’ amounts.


  • Featured image: Isabella Hammad/Van Loan


Subscribe to our Newsletter
Stay up-to-date