Reading The Walter Scott Prize Shortlist: An Update


A couple of months ago, I undertook the challenge of reading all the novels shortlisted for this year’s The Walter Scott Prize for Historical Fiction.   You can read my original post here.

I’ve finally finished reading all the books – with a day to spare! I’ve enjoyed all of them and, by working my way through the shortlist, I’ve been introduced to new authors and travelled – in a literary sense – to America, Russia, Switzerland, Ireland, New York, England and France. This, I feel, is the real joy of literary prizes; they introduce you to books you might not otherwise have read.

Well, it’s time to put my neck on the line and make my choice of winner and my prediction about the winning book.

Firstly, I’m going to group three books together that I enjoyed, that are great books, but didn’t thrill or move me as much as others: The Vanishing Futurist by Charlotte Hobson, Golden Hill by Francis Spufford and The Gustav Sonata by Rose Tremain. Click on each title to read my review.

Next, I’m going to mention two books as worthy runners-up: The Good People by Hannah Kent and A Country Road, A Tree by Jo Baker. Both are wonderful, clever and compelling books. Again, click on the title to read my review.

Finally, the two books I awarded full marks: Days Without End by Sebastian Barry and Mothering Sunday by Graham Swift. Each book is wonderful in its own way and either would be a worthy winner. However, the book that will stay with me longest is Days Without End, so that’s going to be both my pick and my prediction for winner.

The result will be announced on 17th June 2017 so not long to wait to see if my prediction is correct.


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