Walter Scott Prize shortlist nominees announced

The winner of the prize for historical fiction will receive £25,000.

Lauren Gilmour
Tuesday 04 April 2023 09:00 BST
Seven books have made the shortlist for the Walter Scott prize (Ryan Phillips/PA)
Seven books have made the shortlist for the Walter Scott prize (Ryan Phillips/PA)

Nominees for a prestigious award named after one of Scotland’s best-known authors have been announced.

The Walter Scott Prize for historical fiction was first awarded in 2010 to Hilary Mantel for Wolf Hall.

Among the shortlisted writers this year are Lucy Caldwell with These Days and The Chosen by Elizabeth Lowry.

Previous winner Robert Harris is nominated again for Act Of Oblivion and is joined by The Geometer Lobachevsky by Adrian Duncan and The Sun Walks Down by Fiona McFarlane.

Ancestry by Simon Mawer and Devika Ponnambalam’s I Am Not Your Eve complete the line-up.

The award is sponsored by the Duke and Duchess of Buccleuch, and the winner will receive £25,000.

Judging the contest this year will be Katie Grant (chair), Elizabeth Buccleuch, James Holloway, Elizabeth Laird, James Naughtie, Kirsty Wark and, for 2023, award-winning documentary maker, journalist and writer Saira Shah.

The judges said: “Cat and mouse with 17th-century regicides. Love in the Belfast blitz. The death of Emma Hardy. A lost boy (and so much else) in southern Australia. A Soviet exile in Ireland. A dig into personal ancestry. The voice of a voiceless muse.

“Seven very different stories with very different approaches have reached the shortlist for this year’s Walter Scott Prize for historical fiction. As with the best historical novels, each book offers the reader more than the story.

“This year we explore martyrdom, self-knowledge, remorse, exile, art’s human price, complex relationships under an unsettling sun and the impossibility of knowing exactly who we are.

“As required by the prize criteria, all the novels on our 2023 shortlist are set sixty years or more in the past, but how vividly they speak to the present.

“We hope you’ll read, enjoy and watch out for the winner.”

Previous winners include Sebastian Barry and James Robertson.

The winner will be announced at a special event at the Borders Book Festival on Thursday June 15.

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