Walter Scott Prize longlist released for first time

Walter Scott Prize longlist released for first time

Martin Amis, Sarah Waters and Jessie Burton have made the 15-strong longlist for the 2015 Walter Scott Prize for Historical Fiction.

The longlist has been released for the first time following a 40% increase in entries this year. 

Amis is longlisted for his dark love story set in a Nazi concentration camp, The Zone of Interest (Jonathan Cape), while Waters is up for her 1920s-set The Paying Guests (Virago) and Burton for her debut, The Miniaturist (Picador), the tale of eighteen-year-old Nella Oortman in 1680s Amsterdam.

They are joined on the longlist by Sebastian Barry for The Temporary Gentleman (Faber & Faber), Esther Freud for Mr Mac and Me (Bloomsbury) and Paul Kingsnorth for his Man Booker Prize-longlisted novel The Wake (first published by Unbound, now Faber).

Audrey Magee is also longlisted for The Undertaking (Atlantic Books), as is Kamila Shamsie for A God in Every Stone (Bloomsbury) and Elif Shafik for The Architect’s Apprentice (Penguin).

The longlist is completed by: The Lie by Helen Dunmore (Cornerstone); Viper Wine by Hermione Eyre (Vintage); In the Wolf’s Mouth by Adam Foulds (Vintage); Arctic Summer by Damon Galgut (Atlantic Books); Wake by Anna Hope (Transworld); and John Spurling’s The Ten Thousand Things (Gerald Duckworth & Co Ltd).

In a change to prize protocol, this is the first year that the longlist has been made public. The change is a result of a 40% increase in the number of entries since 2014 and “the high quality of historical fiction being currently published”.

The chair of judges, Alistair Moffat, said that the judges had been “vexed” at selecting the longlist from the 124 titles submitted because of the “extraordinary array of time-machine novels” published in 2014. He added: “Our longlist is usually twelve but, given the strength of published work this year, and our decision to make it public for the first time, we have expanded the longlist to fifteen. We hope that by publishing the longlist, we can help point readers to some of the very best historical fiction published in the year.”

First awarded in 2010, the Walter Scott Prize for Historical Fiction honours Sir Walter Scott, and rewards fiction of exceptional quality which is set in the past. It is sponsored by Scott’s distant kinsmen the Duke and Duchess of Buccleuch.

This year, Moffat is joined on the judging panel by the Duchess of Buccleuch, Elizabeth Laird, Louise Richardson, Jonathan Tweedie and Kirsty Wark.

The judging panel will announce the shortlist, usually of six books, at an event at the historic rooms in Albemarle Street, London on 24th March. The prize winner will then be announced at the Borders Book Festival in Melrose, Scotland on 13th June 2015.