Walter Scott Prize


Now in its fifth year, the Walter Scott Prize has become a prestigious and distinctive star in the firmament of literary prizes.  Honouring the achievements of Sir Walter Scott, the founding father of the historical novel, the Prize rewards writing of exceptional quality with a setting of ‘Sixty Years Since’, echoing the subtitle of Scott’s most famous work, 
Waverley.  With a winner’s prize of £25,000, it rivals the biggest and best literary prizes in the UK.
The prize’s sponsors are the Duke and Duchess of Buccleuch, patrons of the arts and distant kinsmen of Scott. The Duke and Duchess host the Walter Scott Prize awards ceremony with a magnificent gathering and public event at the Borders Book Festival in Melrose, Scotland, in June.  A shortlist is announced in April.

To qualify, books must be written in English and first or simultaneously published in the UK, Ireland or the Commonwealth and submitted by their publisher.  Previous winners have been; An Officer and A Spy by Robert Harris in 2014 The Garden of Evening Mists by Tan Twan Eng in 2013; On Canaan’s Side by Sebastian Barry in 2012; The Long Song by Andrea Levy in 2011; and Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel in 2010.

For further information and a full set of rules please contact the prize administrator:

Rebecca Salt at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

The Walter Scott Prize for historical fiction was founded in 2009, and honours the achievements and legacy of Sir Walter Scott, the founding father of the historical novel. The prize is the first book award to recognise outstanding work in this burgeoning genre.


Thursday, 26 February 2015 16:33

Walter Scott Prize longlist announced

On February 24, the Chairman and Judges of the Walter Scott Prize announced the longlisted books for the 2015 prize...

Robert Harris has won the £25,000 Walter Scott Prize for Historical Fiction for his novel about the Dreyfus affair, An Officer and a Spy.  Originally shortlisted for the Prize in its inaugural year, the author returned to Melrose, Scotland four years later to receive his award from the Duke of Buccleuch at the Brewin Dolphin Borders Book Festival on Friday 13th June...

Wednesday, 28 May 2014 22:22

Author Spotlight - Ann Weisgarber

Our sixth and final Walter Scott Prize author spotlight centres on American author Ann Weisgarber and her novel, The Promise – we’re delighted that Ann will be joining us at the Historical Fiction at its Best event and also at the award ceremony.

Read more about Ann and her novel The Promise
Wednesday, 21 May 2014 17:10

Author Spotlight - Robert Harris

Our 5th shortlisted Walter Scott Prize author is Robert Harris. His novel An Officer and a Spy tells the infamous story of Dreyfus affair. Robert Harris is no stranger to Melrose, having been shortlisted in 2010 for his novel Lustrum; we’re delighted to welcome him back to the Festival for the prize ceremony on Friday 13 June.

Read more about An Officer and a Spy...
Thursday, 15 May 2014 07:31

Author Spotlight - Andrew Greig

Our 4th author spotlight features Scottish author Andrew Greig who’s shortlisted novel Fair Helen takes the Scottish Border song, The Ballad of Fair Helen of Kirkconnel Lea, a tragic and fated tale from the 16th century, as his inspiration for this historical novel of adventure and romance, and shines a candlelight on the dark days of a lawless land, and the real woman behind the fable.

Wednesday, 07 May 2014 17:07

Author Spotlight - Jim Crace

Our 3rd shortlisted author is Jim Crace with his  11th and final ever novel Harvest, which was also shortlisted for the 2013 Man Booker Prize. Harvest has been described in the Sunday Times as a “Masterly, elegiac novel about an 18th-century village under threat” with much praise lauded for the lyrical style of his language Jim is a worthy finalist…

Tuesday, 29 April 2014 15:51

Author Spotlight - Eleanor Catton

Winner of The Man Booker Prize 2013, Eleanor Catton is our 2nd shortlisted author for this year's Walter Scott Prize. Her novel The Luminaries has been described as an extraordinary piece of fiction... full of narrative, linguistic and psychological pleasures... we'd love to know what you think, click on the link to read more and comment -


Wednesday, 23 April 2014 15:25

Author Spotlight - Kate Atkinson

In our first Walter Scott Prize shortlisted author spotlight, we're taking a look at Kate Atkinson's Life after Life - we'd love to hear your thoughts about the novel and the shortlist in general in the comments section - 

Friday, 04 April 2014 06:54

Walter Scott Prize 2014 Shortlist

We're delighted to announce that the 2014 shortlist has been announced - according to the judges, it "... has been the toughest choice of shortlist, from the strongest longlist, in the Prize’s five year history." 

Read more..

Wednesday, 02 April 2014 17:02

Walter Scott Prize 2014 Short List....

Short list will be posted here on Friday 4 April 2014...

The decision is in and we have a short-list for the 2013 Walter Scott Prize for Historical Fiction! We have six fantastic novels in contention, with settings ranging from Tudor and Restoration England to the slums of Victorian London, and from the bloody battlefields of the Western Front in World War One to the highlands of Malaysia during the ‘Malayan Emergency’...



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