The Walter Scott Prize for Historical Fiction is a prestigious literary award established in 2010 to recognise excellence in historical fiction writing. The prize is named after Sir Walter Scott, the renowned Scottish author and historical novelist. The annual prize is awarded to the author of the best historical fiction book published in the previous year in the UK, Ireland, or the Commonwealth. The prize aims to celebrate the art of historical fiction, and to encourage writers to bring the past to life through compelling storytelling. The winning book receives a cash prize of £30,000, making it one of the most significant awards in the historical fiction genre.
Seven books were shortlisted for the 2023 Walter Scott Prize for Historical Fiction.
The Best Historical Fiction: The 2023 Walter Scott Prize Shortlist, recommended by Cal Flyn
Every year, the judges for the Walter Scott Prize highlight the best new historical fiction. In 2023, the shortlisted books include a slow-burn mystery set in colonial Australia and a thrilling new novel from the author of Fatherland. Cal Flyn, our deputy editor, takes us through the seven books that are set 60+ years in the past and yet speak to the present.
The Best Historical Fiction: The 2022 Walter Scott Prize Shortlist, recommended by Elizabeth Laird
Every year, the Walter Scott Prize highlights the best new historical novels. In 2022, the shortlist comprises four fantastic works of historical fiction that immerse the reader in the past—from 16th-century Scotland to 1920s Trinidad—while confronting universal human dramas we still struggle with today. Elizabeth Laird, one of the judges, talks us through their choices this year.
The Best Historical Fiction: The 2021 Walter Scott Prize Shortlist, recommended by Katharine Grant
The Walter Scott Prize seeks to highlight the very best of historical fiction—and in 2021, we find the shortlist dominated by Australian writers. Katharine Grant, the acclaimed novelist and chair of the judges, returns to Five Books to discuss the cream of this year’s crop, and the art of transforming the historical record into a creative exercise.
The Best Historical Fiction: The 2020 Walter Scott Prize Shortlist, recommended by Katharine Grant
Historical fiction is experiencing something of a golden age at present: there’s never been a better time to immerse oneself in the past. The acclaimed novelist Katharine Grant—chair of the judges for the Walter Scott Prize for Historical Fiction—talks us through their 2020 shortlist.
The Best of Historical Fiction: The 2019 Walter Scott Prize Shortlist, recommended by Katharine Grant
The best historical novels are those so immersive and natural in tone that their period setting is a ‘by-the-way,’ says Katharine Grant, the novelist and judge for the Walter Scott Prize for historical fiction. Here she discusses the six brilliant books that made the 2019 shortlist.