Walter Scott Prize longlist made public for first time

This year’s longlist for the Walter Scott Prize for Historical Fiction has been revealed, the first time in the prize’s history that the longlist has been made public (though, admittedly, that history only stretches back five years, with the first prize awarded in 2010). The field of nominated titles has also been increased, from the usual twelve to fifteen.

Chair of the judging panel Alistair Moffat says that both of these changes are due to ‘the high quality of historical fiction being currently published’, with 124 books submitted this year for consideration – an increase of 40% from last year – explaining that: ‘Our longlist is usually twelve but, given the strength of published work this year, and our decision to make it public for the first time, we have expanded the longlist to fifteen. We hope that by publishing the longlist, we can help point readers to some of the very best historical fiction published in the year.’

That longlist consists of:

Martin Amis – The Zone of Interest

Sebastian Barry – The Temporary Gentleman

Jessie Burton – The Miniaturist

Helen Dunmore – The Lie

Hermione Eyre – Viper Wine

Adam Foulds – In the Wolf’s Mouth

Esther Freud – Mr Mac and Me

Damon Galgut – Arctic Summer

Anna Hope – Wake

Paul Kingsnorth – The Wake (ed: yes, alphabetical author listing really does land two novels whose titles are essentially the same right next to one another)

Audrey Magee – The Undertaking

Elif Shafik – The Architect’s Apprentice

Kamila Shamsie – A God in Every Stone

John Spurling – The Ten Thousand Things

Sarah Waters – The Paying Guests

Moffat’s fellow judges are Elizabeth Laird, Louise Richardson, Jonathan Tweedie, Kirsty Wark and the Duchess of Buccleuch, a distant relative of Walter Scott who sponsors the prize along with her husband (whose title I’ll give you three chances to guess). Their shortlist will be revealed a month from now, with the winner of the £25,000 prize ultimately announced in June at the Borders Book Festival in Montrose.

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