• The Best Historical Fiction: The 2023 Walter Scott Prize Shortlist - These Days by Lucy Caldwell
  • The Best Historical Fiction: The 2023 Walter Scott Prize Shortlist - I Am Not Your Eve by Devika Ponnambalam
  • The Best Historical Fiction: The 2023 Walter Scott Prize Shortlist - The Sun Walks Down by Fiona McFarlane
  • The Best Historical Fiction: The 2023 Walter Scott Prize Shortlist - Ancestry: A Novel by Simon Mawer
  • The Best Historical Fiction: The 2023 Walter Scott Prize Shortlist - The Chosen by Elizabeth Lowry
  • The Best Historical Fiction: The 2023 Walter Scott Prize Shortlist - The Geometer Lobachevsky by Adrian Duncan

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 - Rose Nicolson: A Novel by Andrew Greig
  • The Best Historical Fiction: The 2022 Walter Scott Prize Shortlist - News of the Dead by James Robertson
  • The Best Historical Fiction: The 2022 Walter Scott Prize Shortlist - Fortune by Amanda Smyth
  • The Best Historical Fiction: The 2022 Walter Scott Prize Shortlist - The Magician by Colm Tóibín

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 Tudor Historical Fiction - Green Darkness by Anya Seton
  • The Best Tudor Historical Fiction - The Concubine: A Novel by Norah Lofts
  • The Best Tudor Historical Fiction - Tudor Pilgrimage by Josephine Bell
  • The Best Tudor Historical Fiction - The Heretic: A Novel by Alison Macleod
  • The Best Tudor Historical Fiction - Amenable Women by Mavis Cheek

The Best Tudor Historical Fiction, recommended by Alison Weir

The Tudor dynasty, which ruled England from 1485 to 1603, has been the focus of extraordinary public attention in recent years, thanks to the success of books like Hilary Mantel’s Wolf Hall and the lavish television drama The Tudors, starring Jonathan Rhys Meyers. We asked Alison Weir, the author of many bestselling factual and novelistic books on the period, to recommend her favourite works of Tudor historical fiction.

  • Best Medieval Historical Fiction - The Buried Giant by Kazuo Ishiguro
  • Best Medieval Historical Fiction - Pilgrims by Matthew Kneale
  • Best Medieval Historical Fiction - The Name of the Rose by Umberto Eco
  • Best Medieval Historical Fiction - The Western Wind: A Novel by Samantha Harvey
  • Best Medieval Historical Fiction - The Invention of Fire by Bruce Holsinger

Best Medieval Historical Fiction, recommended by Marion Turner

The medieval era in Europe lasted a millennium and saw massive social change and technological innovation, as well as calamities like the Black Death. That makes it a great period for historical fiction, offering a glimpse of a past that was very different from our own lives, and yet can resonate with the present. Here Marion Turner, Professor of English Literature at Oxford University, recommends some of her favourite historical novels set in the Middle Ages and explains why she finds them so compelling.

  • Historical Fiction Set in the Ancient World - The Persian Boy by Mary Renault
  • Historical Fiction Set in the Ancient World - Votan by John James
  • Historical Fiction Set in the Ancient World - Family Favourites by Alfred Duggan
  • Historical Fiction Set in the Ancient World - Julian by Gore Vidal
  • Historical Fiction Set in the Ancient World - Eagle in the Snow by Wallace Breem

Historical Fiction Set in the Ancient World, recommended by Harry Sidebottom

The ancient world offers an excellent canvas for historical fiction but too many books fall victim to anachronistic thinking, says Oxford ancient historian Harry Sidebottom, author of two series of historical novels set in Ancient Rome. Here he recommends some of his own favourites, all written during the golden age of classical historical fiction half a century ago.