The Walter Scott Prize for Historical Fiction has announced its 2023 longlist.
Twelve novels are in contention for the £25,000 prize, with settings spanning the globe and the centuries: from ancient Tahiti to Australia and Tasmania at the dawn of colonisation; from seventeenth-century Massachusetts to the 19th century literary salons of Europe; from the shores of Suffolk to the quiet countryside of Thomas Hardy’s Dorset; from the gold-rush-giddy American south to Belfast under siege during the Blitz; and from the cramped streets of 18thcentury London to the sogginess of an Irish bog in the 1950s.
The longlist is:
- THE ROMANTIC William Boyd
- THESE DAYS Lucy Caldwell
- MY NAME IS YIP Paddy Crewe
- THE GEOMETER LOBACHEVSKY Adrian Duncan
- ACT OF OBLIVION Robert Harris
- THE SECRET DIARIES OF CHARLES IGNATIUS SANCHO Paterson Joseph
- THE CHOSEN Elizabeth Lowry
- THE SECOND SIGHT OF ZACHARY CLOUDESLEY Sean Lusk
- THE SUN WALKS DOWN Fiona McFarlane
- ANCESTRY Simon Mawer
- I AM NOT YOUR EVE Devika Ponnambalam
- THE SETTLEMENT Jock Serong
The Chair of Judges said:
‘This year’s submissions to the Walter Scott Prize offered, as ever, many hours of globe-trotting, centuries-spanning pleasure, and our longlist is reflective of the breadth of literary talent, research and imagination displayed by many fine entries. Our longlist also reflects the development of historical fiction from a relatively straightforward depiction of times past to something more complex and ambitious.
‘It’s still true that the past is a ‘foreign country’, but as our twelve longlisted novels illustrate, however ‘foreign’ it seems, the past helps us address the big questions of the present: is art its own justification? What do we leave behind when we die? What is freedom? As well as posing these and many other questions, in the 2023 WSP longlist you’ll find comfort and discomfort, the familiar and the unfamiliar, the heights of love and the depths of obsession, and perhaps a few surprises – in other words, a longlist to read, enjoy, debate and share. ‘