Walter Scott Prize

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The Walter Scott Prize for historical fiction is a British literary award founded in 2010. [1] At £25,000, it is one of the largest literary awards in the UK. [2] The award was created by the Duke and Duchess of Buccleuch, whose ancestors were closely linked to Scottish author Sir Walter Scott, who is generally considered the originator of historical fiction with the novel Waverley in 1814. [3]


Eligible books must have been first published in the UK, Ireland or Commonwealth in the preceding year. [1] For the purpose of the award, historical fiction is defined as being that where the main events take place more than 60 years ago, i.e. outside of any mature personal experience of the author. [1] [lower-alpha 1] The winner is announced each June at the Borders Book Festival in Melrose. [1]


YearAuthorTitleTime PeriodResultRef.
2010 Hilary Mantel Wolf Hall Thomas Cromwell (1490s–1532)Winner [4] [5] [6]
Adam Thorpe Hodd Robin Hood (early medieval)Shortlist [7] [8]
Robert Harris Lustrum Cicero (106–43 BC)
Sarah Dunant Sacred Hearts16th-century Italian convent
Iain Pears Stone's Fall Early 20th-century mystery/thriller
Simon Mawer The Glass Room 1930s Czech
Adam Foulds The Quickening Maze John Clare and Alfred Tennyson (early 19th century)
2011 Andrea Levy The Long Song 1820s JamaicaWinner [9] [10]
Tom McCarthy C Turn of the 20th-century EuropeShortlist [5]
Joseph O'Connor Ghost Light20th-century England and Ireland
C. J. Sansom Heartstone England during the summer of 1545
David Mitchell The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet late 18th-century Shogun Japan
Andrew Williams To Kill A TsarSt. Petersburg around the turn of the 20th century
2012 Sebastian Barry On Canaan's Side 20th-century Ireland and ChicagoWinner [11] [12]
Esi Edugyan Half-Blood Blues World War II-era EuropeShortlist [10] [13]
Andrew Miller Pure Paris in 1786
Barry Unsworth The Quality of Mercy London of 1767 and a Durham coastal mining village
Patrick deWitt The Sisters Brothers Oregon and California in 1851
Alan Hollinghurst The Stranger's Child World War I-era Europe
2013 Tan Twan Eng The Garden of Evening Mists 1940s and '50s MalayaWinner [14] [15]
Hilary Mantel Bring Up the Bodies Thomas Cromwell (1532–1536)Shortlist [16]
Rose Tremain Merivel: A Man of His Time 1680s England
Thomas Keneally The Daughters of Mars WWI
Anthony Quinn The Streets1880s London
Pat Barker Toby's Room WWI
2014 Robert Harris An Officer and a Spy Dreyfus Affair, which took place in France in the late 1890sWinner [17] [18]
Andrew Greig Fair Helen1590s in the Borderland of Scotland and EnglandShortlist [19] [20]
Jim Crace Harvest remote English village following the Enclosure Act in the 18th century
Kate Atkinson Life After Life during the 20th century
Eleanor Catton The Luminaries New Zealand gold rush of the 19th century
Ann Weisgarber The Promise1900 Galveston hurricane
2015 John Spurling The Ten Thousand Things China in the 14th centuryWinner [21] [22]
Kamila Shamsie A God in Every StoneIndia during WWIShortlist [23] [24]
Damon Galgut Arctic SummerIndia in the early 20th century
Adam Foulds In the Wolf's MouthItaly in World War II
Helen Dunmore The LieEngland during WWI
Martin Amis The Zone of Interest Europe during World War II
Hermione Eyre Viper WineEngland in the 17th century
2016 Simon Mawer TightropeFrance WWIIWinner [25] [26]
Patrick Gale A Place Called Winterearly 20th century SaskatchewanShortlist [27] [28]
Allan Massie End Games in BordeauxFrance WWII
Gavin McCrea Mrs Engels19th century England
Lucy Treloar Salt Creekmid-19th century Australia
William Boyd Sweet Caress 20th century global
2017 Sebastian Barry Days Without End US Civil WarWinner [29] [30]
Jo Baker A Country Road, A TreeWWII FranceShortlist [31] [32]
Francis Spufford Golden Hill 18th century New York
Graham Swift Mothering Sunday 1924
Hannah Kent The Good People 19th century Ireland
Rose Tremain The Gustav Sonata Switzerland during WWII
Charlotte Hobson The Vanishing FuturistRussia early Soviet era
2018 Ben Myers The Gallows PoleYorkshire 18th centuryWinner [33] [34]
Paul Lynch Grace19th century IrelandShortlist [35] [36]
Jennifer Egan Manhattan Beach WWII New York
Rachel Malik Miss Boston and Miss Hargreaves WWII
Jane Harris Sugar Money 18th century Martinique and Grenada
Patrick McGrath The Wardrobe Mistress1940s London
2019 Robin Robertson The Long Take American, post WWIIWinner [37]
Peter Carey A Long Way From Home1950s AustraliaShortlist [38] [39]
Cressida Connolly After The Party1938 England
Andrew Miller Now We Shall Be Entirely Free1809 Spain
Samantha Harvey The Western Wind1491
Michael Ondaatje Warlight 1945 London
2020 Christine Dwyer Hickey The Narrow Land1950s, Cape CodWinner [40] [41] [42]
Marguerite Poland A Sin Of Omissionlate 19th century, South Africa and EnglandShortlist [43] [44]
Joseph O'Connor Shadowplay 1878, London
Isabella Hammad The Parisianpre-WWI, Europe, Palestine
Tim Pears The RedeemedWWI, West Country, England
James Meek To Calais, In Ordinary Time14th century, England
2021 Hilary Mantel The Mirror and the Light Thomas Cromwell (1536–1540)Winner [45] [46]
Kate Grenville A Room Made of Leavesearly colonial period, AustraliaShortlist [47] [48]
Maggie O'Farrell Hamnet late 16th century, Stratford-upon-Avon
Pip Williams The Dictionary of Lost Words1880s–1920s, Oxford
Steven Conte The Tolstoy Estate1812 and 1941, Russia
2022 James Robertson News of the DeadWinner [49]
Andrew Greig Rose NicholsonShortlist [50]
Amanda Smyth Fortune
Colm Tóibín The Magician


  1. Scott subtitled his first historical novel “Waverley; or, ‘Tis Sixty Years Since.”

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  9. Flood, Alison (20 June 2011). "Andrea Levy wins Walter Scott prize". The Guardian. Retrieved 21 June 2022.
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  12. "Awards: Walter Scott; David Gemmell". Shelf Awareness. 19 June 2012. Retrieved 21 June 2022.
  13. "Awards: Indies Choice; E.B. White; Jackson Poetry; Walter Scott". Shelf Awareness. 6 April 2012. Retrieved 21 June 2022.
  14. "Awards: Walter Scott Prize; Amazon Breakthrough Novel". Shelf Awareness. 17 June 2013. Retrieved 21 June 2022.
  15. "Tan Twan Eng wins The Walter Scott Prize". Borders Book Festival. 14 June 2013. Archived from the original on 8 September 2013. Retrieved 15 June 2013.
  16. "Shortlist for 2013 Walter Scott Prize Announced". Borders Book Festival. Archived from the original on 7 June 2013. Retrieved 15 June 2013.
  17. "Awards: Walter Scott Prize; Commonwealth Short Story". Shelf Awareness. 18 June 2014. Retrieved 21 June 2022.
  18. "Robert Harris wins Walter Scott Prize for Historical Fiction". BBC News. 13 June 2014. Retrieved 13 June 2014.
  19. "Awards: Bailey's Women's; Waterstones Children's; Walter Scott". Shelf Awareness. 8 April 2014. Retrieved 21 June 2022.
  20. "Walter Scott Prize Shortlist 2014". Walter Scott Prize. 4 April 2014. Archived from the original on 15 April 2014. Retrieved 27 May 2014.
  21. "Awards: Walter Scott for Historical Fiction". Shelf Awareness. 15 June 2015. Retrieved 21 June 2022.
  22. "John Spurling wins top prize at Borders Book Festival". BBC News. 13 June 2015. Retrieved 14 June 2015.
  23. "Awards: James Beard; Walter Scott". Shelf Awareness. 26 March 2015. Retrieved 21 June 2022.
  24. "2015 Shortlist announced". Walter Scott Prize. 24 March 2015. Retrieved 24 March 2015.
  25. "Awards: Walter Scott for Historical Fiction Winner". Shelf Awareness. 22 June 2016. Retrieved 21 June 2022.
  26. "The winner of the 2016 Walter Scott Prize is announced!". Walter Scott Prize. 18 June 2016. Retrieved 20 June 2016.
  27. "Awards: Tony Ryan; Jim Baen; Walter Scott". Shelf Awareness. 28 March 2016. Retrieved 21 June 2022.
  28. "The 2016 Shortlist is announced!". Walter Scott Prize. 23 March 2016. Retrieved 20 June 2016.
  29. "Awards: Walter Scott Historical Fiction; Pritzker Military Writing". Shelf Awareness. 21 June 2017. Retrieved 21 June 2022.
  30. Danuta Kean (19 June 2017). "Sebastian Barry's 'glorious and unusual' novel wins Walter Scott prize". The Guardian. Retrieved 19 June 2017.
  31. "Awards: Marfield for Arts Writing; Dylan Thomas; Walter Scott". Shelf Awareness. 28 March 2017. Retrieved 21 June 2022.
  32. Danuta Kean (28 March 2017). "Walter Scott prize for historical fiction unveils 2017 shortlist". The Guardian . Retrieved 27 April 2017.
  33. "Awards: Walter Scott; PubWest; Maine Literary; Center for Fiction". Shelf Awareness. 18 June 2018. Retrieved 21 June 2022.
  34. "Benjamin Myers wins Walter Scott Prize 2018". BBC News. 18 June 2018. Retrieved 3 April 2019.
  35. "The 2018 Prize". Walter Scott Prize. Retrieved 18 April 2018.
  36. "Awards: Walter Scott Historical Fiction; Ondaatje". Shelf Awareness. 19 April 2018. Retrieved 21 June 2022.
  37. "Awards: Walter Scott and RSL Encore Winners". Shelf Awareness. 17 June 2019. Retrieved 21 June 2022.
  38. "Carey shortlisted for 2019 Walter Scott Prize". Books+Publishing. 3 April 2019. Retrieved 3 April 2019.
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  40. "Awards: Walter Scott Winner". Shelf Awareness. 16 June 2020. Retrieved 21 June 2022.
  41. "Christine Dwyer Hickey wins the 2020 Walter Scott Prize for The Narrow Land". Walter Scott Prize. 12 June 2020. Retrieved 12 June 2020.
  42. Alison Flood (12 June 2020). "Fictional portrait of Jo and Edward Hopper wins Walter Scott prize". The Guardian. Retrieved 12 June 2020.
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  44. "Walter Scott historical fiction prize shortlist revealed". 31 March 2020. Retrieved 31 March 2020.
  45. "Awards: Walter Scott, Trillium Winners". 2021-06-18. Retrieved 21 June 2022.
  46. Mark Chandler (8 June 2021). "Mantel wins £25k Walter Scott Prize for second time". The Bookseller . Retrieved 22 July 2021.
  47. "Awards: Walter Scott Shortlist; PEN America Literary". Shelf Awareness. 25 March 2021. Retrieved 21 June 2022.
  48. "Shortlist for the 2021 Walter Scott Prize for Historical Fiction announced". Walter Scott Prize. 29 March 2021. Retrieved 22 July 2021 via Sunday Times (South Africa).
  49. "Awards: Walter Scott, Griffin Poetry Winners". Shelf Awareness. 20 June 2022. Retrieved 21 June 2022.
  50. "Awards: Walter Scott Shortlist; RSL Ondaatje Longlist". Shelf Awareness. 12 April 2022. Retrieved 21 June 2022.