Shortleet for 2023 Walter Scott Prize unveiled

SEVEN books have been named on the shortleet for this year’s Walter Scott Prize for Historical Fiction.

The titles competing for the £25,000 prize are:

  • These Days by Lucy Caldwell (Faber)
  • The Geometer Lobachevsky by Adrian Duncan (Tuskar Rock Press)
  • Act of Oblivion by Robert Harris (Hutchinson Heinemann)
  • The Chosen by Elizabeth Lowry (Riverrun)
  • The Sun Walks Down by Fiona Mcfarlane (Allen & Unwin Australia)
  • Ancestry by Simon Mawer (Little, Brown)
  • I Am Not Your Eve by Devika Ponnambalam (Bluemoose)

This year’s judges are: Elizabeth Buccleuch; chair Katie Grant; James Holloway; Elizabeth Laird; James Naughtie; Saira Shah; and Kirsty Wark.

The winner will be announced at the Borders Book Festival on 15 June.

The competition was launched in 2010, with Hilary Mantel winning the first award for Wolf Hall.

The contest is sponsored by the Duke and Duchess of Buccleuch to celebrate the life of Sir Walter Scott, the author who invented historical fiction.

A statement released by 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. And 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 60 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.”

Read more news and reviews on Scottish Field’s book pages.

Plus, don’t miss more book reviews in the April issue of Scottish Field magazine.