Walter Scott Prize for Historical Fiction shortlist announced

Walter Scott Prize For Historical Fiction Shortlist Announced
Scott Monument, Edinburgh, © PA Archive/PA Images
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By Nick Forbes, PA Scotland

The six-book shortlist for this year’s Walter Scott Prize for Historical Fiction has been revealed, with the winner due to be announced at the Borders Book Festival in Melrose on June 13th.

This year’s shortlist features authors from Ireland, England, Trinidad, Canada and Malaysia, and includes one debut novelist in Tom Crewe alongside a number of more well-established names.


Previous winners of the prize, which was first awarded in 2010, include Hilary Mantel, Sebastian Barry and Robert Harris, as well as Tan Twan Eng, who is in the shortlist again this year.



The judges said: “The Walter Scott Prize judging criteria – originality, innovation, ambition, durability and of course quality of writing – are beautifully showcased in our 2024 shortlist.

“In addition, we have six novels as diverse in their subject matter as in style of writing: an attempted sexual revolution in 18th century London; dangerously entwined lives in 1940s Trinidad; gripping tensions in Nazi-occupied Rome; a gentle 1960s home-counties heartbreaker; stories within stories from the terminus of the Underground Railroad; and love, betrayal and scandal in the Straits Settlements of Penang.

“At the heart of each novel lies a deep understanding of humanity in all its quirky strengths and weaknesses, with each of the WSP 2024 shortlisted authors having something new to say and a new way of saying it.”

  1. The New Life - Tom Crewe
  2. Hungry Ghosts - Kevin Jared Hosein
  3. My Father's House - Joseph O'Connor
  4. In the Upper Country - Kai Thomas
  5. Absolutely and Forever - Rose Tremain
  6. The House of Doors - Tan Twan Eng

A panel of six judges chaired by Katie Grant and featuring James Holloway, Elizabeth Laird, James Naughtie, Kirsty Wark and Saira Shah will decide the winner of the £25,000 prize, with each shortlisted author receiving £1,500.

The shortlisted books are The New Life by Tom Crewe, Hungry Ghosts by Kevin Jared Hosein, My Father’s House by Joseph O’Connor, In the Upper Country by Kai Thomas, Absolutely and Forever by Rose Tremain and The House of Doors by Tan Twan Eng.

To be eligible for the prize books must have been written in English, set more than 60 years ago, and published during 2023 in the UK, Ireland or the Commonwealth.


The winner will be announced at a special public event at the Borders Book festival in Melrose on June 13.

This year the prize is under the new management of the Abbotsford Trust, which was set up to preserve and protect Abbotsford, Sir Walter Scott’s home, for future generations, and act as a guardian of the writer’s legacy.

It is supported by Hawthornden Foundation and the Duke of Buccleuch.

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