Walter Scott Prize 2021 Longlist Announced

Shutterstock / OneSideProFoto © walter scott

Exciting news! The longlist for the 2021 Walter Scott Prize has been announced.

If you’re a fan of historical fiction, these novels are some of the best around. Definitely worth adding to your “to read” pile!

The books in contention for the £25,000 prize are:

About the prize

The Walter Scott Prize for Historical Fiction is open to books published in the previous year in the UK, Ireland or the Commonwealth.

First awarded in 2010, the prize honours Sir Walter’s position as the “father” of the historical fiction genre.

Reflecting the subtitle of Scott’s most famous work “Waverley: Tis 60 Years Since”, the majority of the entry’s storyline must have taken place at least 60 years ago.

The winner receives £25,000, and this year each shortlisted author will receive £1,500, making the Walter Scott Prize amongst the richest fiction prizes in the UK.

The Walter Scott Prize for Historical Fiction is open to books published in the previous year in the UK, Ireland or the Commonwealth.

Previous winners include Hilary Mantel, Andrea Levy and Sebastian Barry.

Last year, Irish author Christine Dwyer Hickey won the Prize for her novel “The Narrow Land”, in which she explores the marriage of the artists Edward and Jo Hopper.

The longlist

The judges of the 2021 Prize are Katie Grant (chair), Elizabeth Buccleuch, James Holloway, Elizabeth Laird, James Naughtie and Kirsty Wark.

The judges said:

“Historical fiction has not obeyed any lockdown.

“Instead, in this year’s new publishing, there has been an explosion of lively ideas and fresh ways of storytelling, with traditional notions of historical fiction stretched and tested.

“The Walter Scott Prize 2021 longlist authors – some well-established, some newer voices – challenge, charm, alarm, comfort, and electrify. Each book in its own way fulfils the WSP criteria of ambition, originality and innovation, with fine writing always the priority.

“Readers of this year’s longlist will be spirited into jungles, political intrigues and even the pages of dictionaries; smell a most extraordinary sea; hear music never written; and touch the fourth dimension. When escape has never been more appealing, the 2021 Walter Scott Prize longlist authors will gather you up and sweep you away.”

The longlist this year includes four books from Australia, two of which are not yet published in the UK.

Settings range from Tudor, Victorian and Edwardian England to Borneo, Tasmania, Indonesia, Japan, the USA, Russia and East Africa.

The 2021 Prize was open to books published in the UK, Ireland and the Commonwealth during 2020.

If you’re looking for your next read, click here to browse through our book reviews.

Iain McDonald

Iain is Digital Content Editor at the "Friend", making him responsible for managing flow of interesting and entertaining content on the magazine's website and social media channels.