The Year of the Runaways

Sunjeev Sahota

2015 Nominee

Man Booker Prize

2016 Winner

Encore Award

2016 Winner

South Bank Sky Arts Awards Literature Award

2015 Nominee

Sunday Times/Peters Fraser & Dunlop Young Writer of the Year Award

2016 Nominee

International Dylan Thomas Prize

28 January 2016
480 pages


Shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize.

Sweeping between India and England, from childhood and the present day. Sunjeev Sahota's unforgettable novel about illegal immigrants is a story of dignity in the face of adversity. For fans of Rohinton Mistry's A Fine Balance.

'The Grapes of Wrath for the 21st century' – Washington Post

The Year of the Runaways tells of the bold dreams and daily struggles of an unlikely family thrown together by circumstance.

Thirteen young men live in a house in Sheffield, each in flight from India and in desperate search of a new life. Tarlochan, a former rickshaw driver, will say nothing about his past in Bihar. Avtar has a secret that binds him to protect the chaotic Randeep. Randeep, in turn, has a visa-wife in a flat on the other side of town: a clever, devout woman whose cupboards are full of her husband's clothes, in case the immigration men surprise her with a call.

'A writer who knows how to make you stay up late at night to learn what happens next . . . a brilliant and beautiful novel' – author of Home Fire, Kamila Shamsie, Guardian

Sahota is a writer who knows how to turn a phrase, how to light up a scene, how to make you stay up late at night to learn what happens next. The Year of the Runaways is a brilliant and beautiful novel.
Writing with unsentimental candor, Mr. Sahota has created a cast of characters whose lives are so richly imagined that this deeply affecting novel calls out for a sequel or follow-up that might recount the next installment of their lives.
An ideal antidote to a year of reductive discussions of immigration, Sunjeev Sahota's novel takes you deep into the lives of a group of Indian labourers thrown together in Sheffield . . . its lyrical prose and ability to immerse the reader in the experiences of a hidden community in Britain