Thursday, 23 February 2017 16:44


The longlist for the £25,000 Walter Scott Prize for Historical Fiction 2017 has been announced. The thirteen books on the longlist are:

Jo Baker - A Country Road, A Tree (Doubleday)

Julian Barnes - The Noise of Time (Jonathan Cape)

Sebastian Barry - Days Without End (Faber)

Richard Francis - Crane Pond (Europa)

Linda Grant - The Dark Circle (Virago)

Charlotte Hobson - The Vanishing Futurist (Faber)

Hannah Kent - The Good People (Picador Australia)

Ed O’Loughlin - Minds of Winter (riverrun)

Sarah Perry - The Essex Serpent (Profile)

Dominic Smith - The Last Painting of Sara de Vos (Allen & Unwin Australia)

Francis Spufford - Golden Hill (Faber)

Graham Swift Mothering Sunday (Scribner)

Rose Tremain - The Gustav Sonata (Chatto & Windus)

The Judges said:

This has been an extraordinary year for historical fiction.  We were knocked out by the quality and variety of the entries this year, but we have finally arrived at a longlist of astonishing depth and richness.  We look forward to the challenging task of narrowing such a great longlist down to a shortlist. 

We would like to thank our new Academy for helping us reach the longlist, and for bringing to our attention gems from further afield. Together with the Academy, we can now shine a broader light on good books set in the past.  The Walter Scott Prize is now a showcase for some of the best fiction in English, reaching into our past with freshness and vigour.

After a reorganisation in 2017, the judging panel now comprises seven judges, who will decide a shortlist in April, and a winner in June.  They are Alistair Moffat (chair), Elizabeth Buccleuch, Elizabeth Laird, Kate Figes, Katharine Grant, James Holloway and James Naughtie.

Books on the 2017 longlist are set in England, Ireland, France, Holland, Switzerland, Russia and North America, and their historical settings range from the 17th to the 20th Centuries. Authors include two previous prizewinners:  Sebastian Barry, who won the prize in 2012 with On Canaan’s Side, and Rose Tremain, who was shortlisted in 2013 for Merivel.

For the first time this year, the Prize is publishing a further list of a 20 books recommended by the Walter Scott Prize Academy, which was launched last year as a new innovation to help broaden the reach of the Prize and strengthen its resources.  The Academy is an advisory group feeding into the submission process, and comprises people at the centre of literary life in the UK and Commonwealth countries, including the artistic directors of book festivals around the world, leading book retailers and literary critics.  The 20 books recommended by the Academy in addition to the longlist, include newly published  historical novels from Australia, Canada and Africa as well as some unmissable novels from the UK.  The full list of books, and a list of Academy members, is on the Walter Scott Prize website

First awarded in 2010, the Walter Scott Prize for Historical Fiction honours the inventor of the historical fiction genre, Sir Walter Scott.  Previous winners include Hilary Mantel, Andrea Levy, Sebastian Barry, Tan Twan Eng, Robert Harris, John Spurling, and Simon Mawer.

Sponsored by the Duke and Duchess of Buccleuch, 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 work Waverley: Tis Sixty Years Since, the majority of the storyline must have taken place at least 60 years ago.

The judging panel will announce a shortlist – usually of six books – in April, and the winner of the Walter Scott Prize for Historical Fiction 2017 will be announced at the Borders Book Festival in Melrose in Scotland, on 16th June 2017.  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.

Members of the judging panel and the Chair of Judges are available for interview.

For further information and images please contact:

Rebecca Salt or Jessica Ward at StonehillSalt PR

Tel: 01620 829 800 or 07970 783213

email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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