The longlist for the Walter Scott Prize for Historical Fiction 2018 was announced today, with thirteen books selected from the largest number of entries in the Prize’s eight year history – an increase of 40% on last year.
The longlist is:
- The Clocks In This House All Tell Different Times by Xan Brooks (Salt) – A dark social-realist fairytale, spotlighting the shadowy underside of 1920s England.
- Birdcage Walk by Helen Dunmore (Hutchinson) – It is 1792 and Europe is seized by political turmoil and violence.
- Manhattan Beach by Jennifer Egan (Corsair) – The long-awaited novel from the Pulitzer Prize-winning author, opens in Brooklyn during the Great Depression.
- The Last Man In Europe by Dennis Glover (Black Inc Books) – April, 1947. In a run-down farmhouse on a remote Scottish island, George Orwell begins his last and greatest work: Nineteen Eighty-Four.
- Sugar Money by Jane Harris (Faber) – A tale of slavery and freedom, innocence and experience, love and despair set in the 18th century Caribbean.
- Prussian Blue by Philip Kerr (Quercus) – France, 1956. Bernie Gunther is on the run. The twelfth book in the renowned series.
- The Draughtsman by Robert Lautner (Borough Press) – 1944, Germany. A novel which shines a light on the complex contradictions of human nature and examines how deeply complicit we can become in the face of fear.
- Grace by Paul Lynch (Oneworld) – An epic coming-of-age novel and a poetic evocation of the Irish famine as it has never been written.
- The Wardrobe Mistress by Patrick McGrath (Hutchinson) – A portrait of a woman struggling to make sense of her past and imagine a future in the seedy glamour of London’s theatrical world.
- Miss Boston and Miss Hargreaves by Rachel Malik (Fig Tree) – 1940s rural England sets the scene for a multi-layered tale of an unlikely friendship.
- The Gallows Pole by Benjamin Myers (Bluemoose Books) – Eighteenth-century Yorkshire. A gang of weavers and land workers embark upon a criminal enterprise that will capsize the economy and become the biggest fraud in British history.
- The Horseman by Tim Pears (Bloomsbury) – An unexpected friendship between two children, set in Devon in 1911.
- The Bedlam Stacks by Natasha Pulley (Bloomsbury) – Set in the magical forests of South America in 1859.
The Judges said:
This year our Prize has attracted a record number of entries, and historical fiction continues to ride a wave of publishing success. As a result, we have been able to make our selection from a body of remarkable and varied novels. In our longlist, we have attempted to represent different styles – from lyrical to experimental, and from epic to intimate.
The judges of the 2018 Prize are Alistair Moffat (chair), Elizabeth Buccleuch, Elizabeth Laird, Kate Figes, Katharine Grant, James Holloway, James Naughtie and Kirsty Wark.
The panel will choose a shortlist in April, and a winner will be announced at the 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, and Simon Mawer. Last year’s winning book was Days Without End by Sebastian Barry, making him the first double prize-winner.
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.