Harris wins Walter Scott Prize

Harris wins Walter Scott Prize

Novelist Robert Harris has won the £25,000 Walter Scott Prize for Historical Fiction for his novel, An Officer and a Spy.

Harris was previously shortlisted for the award in 2010 with his novel, Lustrum (Hutchinson). An Officer and a Spy is a recreation of a scandal where a young Jewish officer was convicted of treason in Paris in 1895.

The judges said: "An Officer and A Spy is a masterwork, a novel written by a story-teller at the pinnacle of his powers. In making compelling literary drama out of the Dreyfus affair, an episode familiar to many, Robert Harris has done something Walter Scott would have been proud of."

The author received the award at a ceremony at the Brewin Dolphin Borders Book Festival in Melrose on Friday 13th June, where chair of the judges Alistair Moffat presented the prize. The prize is funded by the Duke of Buccleuch, a relative of historical novelist Sir Walter Scott. The prize is open to any book in English published in the previous year which is set at least 60 years ago.

The other shortlisted books were Life After Life by Kate Atkinson (Black Swan); The Luminaries by Eleanor Catton (Granta); Harvest by Jim Crace (Picador); Fair Helen by Andrew Greig (Quercus) and The Promise by Ann Weisgarber (Mantle). The judging panel was made up of Kirsty Wark, Louise Richardson, Jonathan Tweedie, Elizabeth Laird and Elizabeth Buccleuch and Moffat.

Harris will also be offered a stay at a writer's retreat on the isle of Jura.

Previous winners of the prize include Hilary Mantel for Wolf Hall (Fourth Estate) in 2010 and The Garden of Evening Mists (Myrmidon/Canongate) by Tan Twan Eng last year.