HWA Debut Crown shortlist unveiled

HWA Debut Crown shortlist unveiled

Titles from Bloomsbury, Atlantic Books and Serpent’s Tail have all made it on to the shortlist for the Historical Writers’ Association’s Debut Crown for best first historical novel, previously the HWA-Goldsboro Debut Crown.

The 2014 shortlist was announced this evening (Wednesday 4th June) at the first HWA annual general meeting.

Kate Worsley’s She Rises (Bloomsbury) will compete against Secrets of the Sea House by Elizabeth Gifford (Atlantic Books), A Capital Union by Victoria Hendry (Saraband), Petite Mort by Beatrice Hitchmann (Serpent’s Tail) and David Kirk’s Child of Vengeance (Simon and Schuster) for the £2,000 prize.

The prize is designed to reflect the HWA’s remit “to promote and support historical writing in all its forms”. This is the third year that the prize has been awarded.

This year’s judges are Rosie de Courcy, Daphne Wright, Andrew Taylor, Anthony Riches and Manda Scott.

The judges said that the standard of entries was “very high”, but they felt that their chosen shortlist “reflects the wide spectrum of historical fiction published today”. They added: “Each of these books is exceptional, and to have written it at any time in a writing career is an achievement: to have written it as a first novel, is exceptional”.

They added that picking a winner will be “astonishingly hard” but hoped that people would read the full shortlist and “revel in the breadth and depth of new talent, not just in the world of historical fiction, but in literature as a whole”.

The HWA has said that its aim is “to sponsor a body of prizes analogous to the CWA’s ‘Dagger’ Awards” and described the Debut Crown prize as “a first, solid step on the way”.

The prize has previously gone to Robert Wilton for Treason’s Tide (Corvus) in 2012 and M L Stedman for The Light Between Oceans (Black Swan) in 2013.

The winner of this year’s prize will be announced on 23rd October, the first day of the Harrogate History Festival.