Walter Scott Prize judges praise quality of shortlisted books

THE four authors shortlisted for the prestigious Walter Scott Prize for Best Historical Fiction expressed their pride in having their book shortlisted.

The winner receives £25,000 and each shortlisted author receives £1,500, making the Walter Scott Prize one of the UK’s richest fiction prizes.

Previous winners are Hilary Mantel and Sebastian Barry (twice winners), Andrea Levy, Tan Twan Eng, Robert Harris, John Spurling, Simon Mawer, Benjamin Myers, Robin Robertson and Christine Dwyer Hickey.

Andrew Greig, author of ‘Rose Nicholson’, said: “I am immensely happy and encouraged and generally delighted. It’s somehow particularly fitting that a central character in Rose Nicholson is the first Lord Scott of Branxholme and Buccleuch, a rising border reiver.

James Robertson, author of ‘News of the Dead’, said: “I am very pleased to be shortlisted for the award. Scott’s life and work have influenced my own writing, so it feels only fair to be in the running for an award bearing his name. I don’t consider myself a historical novelist, but a writer with a deep interest in history and time.

Amanda Smyth, author of ‘Fortune’, said: “I’m absolutely thrilled to be on the shortlist, especially after seeing such a strong long list. My first novel was also historical fiction, but I had never considered myself a historical novelist.

Colm Tóibín, author of ‘The Magician’, said: “My novel The Magician is set between 1880 and 1950 in Germany and the United States. It covers World War I, the Munich Revolution, German inflation, the Hitler’s rise, World War II, the division of Germany, and the Cold War. It is told through the perspective of one man, who had a different response to each of the events listed above. I’ve read a lot and tried to imagine Thomas Mann’s life at that time, and to have my work recognized and honored in this way with the Walter Scott Prize is wonderful.

The judges said: “The debate at the Walter Scott Prize meetings is always lively. Hard choices have to be made. But informed, as always, by WSP’s criteria of ambition, innovation, enduring appeal, and writing quality, the four books on our shortlist shone brightly in the sky this year. We hope readers will celebrate each other’s art and craft and enjoy four very different stories told in very different ways.

The winner will be announced at a special event at the Borders Book Festival on Friday, June 17, 2022, which also honors winners of the prize’s counterpart for young writers, the Young Walter Scott Prize.

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