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Mantel, Tremain, Keneally on Walter Scott shortlist

Novels ranging from Tudor England to the battlefields of the Western Front have been shortlisted for the Walter Scott Prize for historical fiction, with Hilary Mantel adding another nomination to her prize haul for Bring Up the Bodies (Fourth Estate)

Mantel won in 2010 for Wolf Hall.

The £25,000 prize is rewarded to a book written in English, with the majority of its setting being at least 60 years ago.

Also in the running is Tan Twan Eng’s Malaya-set The Garden of Evening Mists (Myrmidon), shortlisted for last year’s Booker, the First World War-set Toby’s Room by Pat Barker (Hamish Hamilton) and The Daughters of Mars by Thomas Keneally (Sceptre), about sisters working as nurses on the Western Front. The Streets by Anthony Quinn (Cape) set in the Victorian slums and Rose Tremain’s Merivel (Chatto) centered around the court of Charles II complete the list.

“This year's shortlist is rich and complex, contains breathtaking writing, and gloriously unexpected stories which refresh understandings of history in a way in which Sir Walter Scott would have approved," the judges said. "The shortlist exemplifies the extraordinary quality of newly-published writing that is set in the past: from ancient to recent history."

The judging panel comprised Kirsty Wark, Louise Richardson, Jonathan Tweedie, Elizabeth Laird, Elizabeth Buccleuch, and chair Alistair Moffat.

The winner will be announced on Friday 14th June at the Brewin Dolphin Borders Book Festival in Melrose.