The organisers of the Walter Scott Prize for historical fiction have launched an academy to help find future winners.
The academy will be made up of people “at the centre of literary life in the UK and in Commonwealth countries”, who will recommend the authors that go on to the prize’s longlist.
Prize founder and sponsor, the Duke of Buccleuch, said: “The prize has been growing in reputation every year, and strives to promote the highest literary standards, but we recognise that more needs to be done, both in identifying the best fiction emerging from the commonwealth countries, and in bringing the prize to wider global attention. The new Walter Scott Prize Academy will serve as arbiters and scouts, bringing fresh ideas and local knowledge to the judging process. We extend our thanks to everyone who is participating.”
The new members of the Academy include the artistic directors of key literary festivals in Australia, New Zealand and Canada, book retailers and critics. Previous winners and shortlisted authors will also be invited to join.
The £25,000 Walter Scott Prize is for any title set at least 60 years ago and published in the UK, Ireland or Commonwealth.
The longlist for next year’s award will be announced in February 2017 and the shortlist in March. The winner will receive the prize at the Borders Book Festival in Melrose in Scotland in June.