Writer and journalist Kushanava Choudhury’s non-fiction book The Epic City, an illuminating portrait of Kolkata has been declared one of the shortlisted titles for the 2018 Royal Society of Literature Ondaatje Prize. The annual award comes with a cash prize of £10,000 and recognised a “distinguished work of fiction, non-fiction, or poetry” that evokes the spirit of a place.

Part personal history, part travelogue, the book documents Choudhury’s return to Kolkata after completing a PhD at Yale. The book, described by the judges for the prize as “lively and vivid – a picture of contemporary Calcutta which is both panoramic and intimate”, joins five other titles on the shortlist. Founded by the Royal Society of Literature, the prize is currently in its 15th year and has been awarded to writers including Hisham Matar and Rahul Bhattacharya. The winner of this year’s prize will be announced on May 15. The complete list of shortlisted titles is available here.