The deadline for publishers to submit books published in 2017 for The Walter Scott Prize for Historical Fiction 2018 is fast approaching (31st January). As a historical fiction fan, I’ll be eagerly awaiting the announcement of the longlist and the ‘Academy Recommends’ list in February. Last year, I only managed to read the shortlisted novels but this year I intend to read, if possible, all the longlisted novels (where I haven’t read them already).
Which leads me to the purpose of this post. Here are some of the historical fiction novels I read in 2017 that I’d love to see make the longlist (subject to them meeting the eligibility criteria). In addition, some books I haven’t got around to reading yet but which, judging from reviews, potentially deserve a place on the longlist.
(My early tips: Irish authors seem to do particularly well – perhaps Banville, Boyne and Toibin might fight it out? – and surely it would be lovely for Helen Dunmore to be recognised, albeit posthumously.)
Books I read in 2017 (click on title for my review)
Shelter by Sarah Franklin (Publisher: Bonnier Zaffre)
Miss Boston and Miss Hargreaves by Rachel Malik (Publisher: Fig Tree)
Vindolanda by Adrian Goldsworthy (Publisher: Head of Zeus)
Birdcage Walk by Helen Dunmore (Publisher: Hutchinson)
The Watch House by Bernie McGill (Publisher: Tinder Press)
Anne Boleyn: The King’s Obsession by Alison Weir (Publisher: Headline)
In the Name of the Family by Sarah Dunant (Publisher: Virago)
Widdershins by Helen Steadman (Publisher: Impress Books)
The Wardrobe Mistress by Patrick McGrath (Publisher: Hutchinson)
House of Names by Colm Toibin (Publisher: Scribner)
Books on the grapevine (click on title for Goodreads entry)
The Last Tudor by Phillipa Gregory (Publisher: Touchstone)
The Heart’s Invisible Furies by John Boyne (Publisher: Hogarth)
How To Stop Time by Matt Haig (Publisher: Canongate) [My outlier – does it even count as historical fiction?]
Mrs Osmond by John Banville (Publisher: Hamish Hamilton)
The Witchfinder’s Sister by Beth Underdown (Publisher: Viking)
Munich by Robert Harris (Publisher: Hutchinson)
- Is your favourite on my list?
- What other historical fiction novels published in the UK, Ireland or the Commonwealth in 2017 are worthy of nomination?
- Come back in February to see how my picks match the judges’ choices…