The Walter Scott Prize for Historical Fiction, now in its tenth year, has announced a longlist of twelve books in contention for the £25,000 prize. A further list of twenty books recommended by the Prize’s Academy is also unveiled today.
The Longlist of twelve is:
Little by Edward Carey (Gallic Books)
A Long Way From Home by Peter Carey (Faber)
After The Party by Cressida Connolly (Viking)
Washington Black by Esi Edugyan (Serpent’s Tail)
The Western Wind by Samantha Harvey (Jonathan Cape)
Dark Water by Elizabeth Lowry (riverrun)
Now We Shall Be Entirely Free by Andrew Miller (Sceptre)
Warlight by Michael Ondaatje (Jonathan Cape)
The Wanderers by Tim Pears (Bloomsbury)
The Long Take by Robin Robertson (Picador)
All The Lives We Never Lived by Anuradha Roy (Maclehose Press)
Tombland by C J Sansom (Mantle)
The chair of Judges, Alistair Moffat, said:
“Since its founding in 2009, the Walter Scott Prize has grown in standing and is now a trusted kitemark for the very best historical fiction from the UK and Ireland, as well as a platform from which to introduce exciting voices from the Commonwealth.
“Our tenth longlist features wonderful stories from both the recent and distant past, with diverse settings; from jostling cities and insular villages to vast open spaces and wild oceans. We meet some unforgettable characters – an Australian long-distance rally driver; a diminutive Swiss orphan who becomes Madame Tussaud; a middle-class English housewife caught up in Oswald Mosley’s fascist movement; a young man ‘freed’ from slavery on a journey across the globe. Choosing a shortlist from these corkers is going to be a tough task for the judges.
“We are also delighted to unveil the Academy’s ‘recommended’ list, offering readers a further selection of twenty superb novels from the UK, Africa, Australia and beyond. The Walter Scott Prize Academy, expanded this year to include book bloggers and international book festival directors, is playing an important role in bringing superlative historical fiction from further afield to public attention, as well as recognizing home grown talent.”
The Academy Recommends List is:
Love Is Blind by William Boyd (Viking)
The Prince Of Mirrors by Alan Robert Clark (Fairlight Books)
The Making Of Martin Sparrow by Peter Cochrane (Viking Australia)
So Much Life Left Over by Louis de Bernieres (Harvill Secker)
All Among The Barley by Melissa Harrison (Bloomsbury)
The Hundred Wells Of Salaga by Ayesha Harruna Attah (Cassava Republic)
Only Killers And Thieves by Paul Howarth (Pushkin Press)
Mary Ann Sate, Imbecile by Alice Jolly (Unbound)
The Black Earth by Philip Kazan (Allison & Busby)
The Sealwoman’s Gift by Sally Magnusson (Two Roads)
Mad Blood Stirring by Simon Mayo (Doubleday)
As The Women Lay Dreaming by Donald S Murray (Saraband)
Kintu by Jennifer Nansubaga Makumbi (Oneworld)
The Angel’s Mark by S J Perry (Corvus)
A View Of The Empire At Sunset by Caryl Phillips (Vintage)
Painter To The King by Amy Sackville (Granta)
A Treachery Of Spies by Manda Scott (Bantam Press)
The Tristan Chord by Glenn Skwerer (Unbound)
Never Anyone But You by Rupert Thomson (Corsair)
The Madonna Of The Mountains by Elise Valmorbida (Faber)
The Walter Scott Prize Academy comprises people at the centre of literary life in the UK and Commonwealth countries – from bookshop owners and directors of literary festivals to book bloggers and booktubers. The ‘Academy Recommends’ list is supplementary to the Longlist, and the books on it do not go forward for judging. More details about the books on the Academy list is on the Walter Scott Prize’s website: www.walterscottprize.co.uk.
The judges of the 2019 Prize are Alistair Moffat (chair), Elizabeth Buccleuch, Elizabeth Laird, Katharine Grant, James Holloway, James Naughtie and Kirsty Wark. The judges will choose a shortlist in April, and a winner will be announced at the Baillie Gifford Borders Book Festival in Scotland on 15th June. The winner receives £25,000, while each shortlisted author receives £1,000, making the Walter Scott Prize amongst the richest fiction prizes in the UK.
First awarded in 2010, the Walter Scott Prize for Historical Fiction honours the inventor of the historical fiction genre, Sir Walter Scott, and is sponsored by the Duke and Duchess of Buccleuch. Previous winners include Hilary Mantel, Andrea Levy, Sebastian Barry, Tan Twan Eng, Robert Harris, John Spurling, Simon Mawer and Benjamin Myers.
Last year’s winner, The Gallows Pole by Benjamin Myers, went on to attract a major publishing deal for the author and was featured on a Royal Mail postmark on some 30 million pieces of post.
The Walter Scott Prize for Historical Fiction is open to books published in the previous year in the UK, Ireland or the Commonwealth. Reflecting the subtitle of Scott’s most famous workWaverley: Tis Sixty Years Since, the majority of the storyline must have taken place at least 60 years ago.
The Prize will announce details of its tenth anniversary celebrations later in the year.