Delhi-based Picador novelist Rahul Bhattacharya has won the Royal Society of Literature Ondaatje Prize with his debut novel, The Sly Company of People Who Care.


The Sly Company of People Who Care tells the story of a twenty-six-year-old Indian journalist who decides to give up his job and travel to Guyana, a forgotten colonial society of raw, mesmerizing beauty. 

There he is not just seduced by the country: he is also captivated by the feisty yet fragile Jan, and together they embark on an adventure which will take them into a new country and change both their lives.

In his dazzling and ambitious debut novel, Rahul Bhattacharya has captured the heady adventures of travel, the overheated restlessness of youth, and the paradoxes of searching for life’s meaning in the escape from home.


‘His descriptions are ravishing . . . We look forward to seeing this on (at least) the Booker longlist.’ The Times

Clever, insightful and funny. With a style resonant of some of the best Asian writing by giants such as Naipaul and Rushdie . . . this debut novel has powerful charm.’ Daily Mail

‘It is beautifully written and brims with charm . . . Definitely a book to be savoured lying in a shady hammock, with a bottle of rum and cricket on the radio.’ Financial Times



One of the most exhilarating novels I have read for years . . . This picaresque story, funny, tough and romantic, swerves around all kinds of inner and outer landscapes and offers unforgettable vignettes of a host of characters. He has invented a beautiful and original language, mixing street poetry and sharply sensual poetry.'

Bhattacharya’s novel was also shortlisted for the Man Asian Literary Prize last year. The RSL Ondaatje Prize celebrates a distinguished work of fiction, non-fiction or poetry, evoking the spirit of a place. 


Read an extract from The Sly Company of People Who Care.

Read Rahul's 'Once Upon A Life' piece in the Observer.

See some of the rave reviews for The Sly Company of People Who Care

Read Rahul's article on the incredible Indian woman in Intelligent Life magazine.