Titles by William Boyd and Patrick Gale have been named on the 2016 Walter Scott Prize shortlist in an “exceptional year” for historical fiction.
The Walter Scott Prize, worth £25,000 to the winner, has named Boyd’s Sweet Caress (Bloomsbury) on its six-strong shortlist, along with A Place Called Winter by Patrick Gale (Tinder Press) and Mrs Engels by Gavin McCrea (Scribe UK). End Games in Bordeaux by Allan Massie (Quartet), Tightrope by Simon Mawer (Little, Brown) and Salt Creek by Lucy Treloar (Picador Australia) complete the shortlist.
The newly-announced Scottish Makar Jackie Kay is among the "refreshed" line up of judges for the prize for historical fiction, along with the BBC’s special correspondent James Naughtie. They join Elizabeth Buccleuch, Elizabeth Laird, Kirsty Wark, and chair Alistair Moffat to complete the judging panel.
Together they said: “Each place in our shortlist was hard fought, as it has been another exceptional year for historical fiction. This embarrassment of riches forced us to focus our lens more closely on fiction which evokes an authentic atmosphere of the past, rather than that which solely deals with the nature of memory.”
The six books chosen transport readers from the Great Northern prairies to the South Australian coast, “via a wide sweep across pre-war and post-war Europe - but they also tell great stories, and bring periods of history alive, much as Walter Scott did in his time,” the judges added.
The Walter Scott Prize was founded in 2009 by the Duke and Duchess of Buccleuch and honours the legacy and achievements of Sir Walter Scott, “founder of the historical novel”. Awarded at the Brewin Dolphin Borders Book Festival in June, the winner receives £25,000, and each of the shortlisted authors receive £1,000.