The Walter Scott Prize for Historical Fiction 2018 Shortlist

WalterScottPrize

It’s what lovers of historical fiction (not to mention a few nervous authors and publishers) have been waiting for – the publication of the shortlist for The Walter Scott Prize for Historical Fiction 2018.    Unfortunately, the announcement came too soon for me to have read all thirteen titles on the longlist as I’d intended, but I definitely plan to read the three books in the shortlist I haven’t already read.

Visit The Walter Scott Prize for Historical Fiction page on my blog for details of the shortlist, a reminder of the longlist plus links to my reviews or the book description on Goodreads.  I’ll be updating the links as I read and review them.  Well worth a visit is The Walter Scott Prize for Historical Fiction website where you can find more information about the prize and the full comments by the judges on the shortlisted books.

Without further ado, here are the shortlisted titles along with some quotes from the judges’ comments.  Plus my own comments, indulging myself by imagining  (in my dreams) that I’m one of the judges…


WaltScott_ManhattanBeachManhattan Beach by Jennifer Egan

What the judges say: ‘This is a novel from a writer at the top of her form.’
What Cathy Read Next’s verdict: Coming soon!

WaltScott_Sugar MoneySugar Money by Jane Harris

What the judges say: ‘a thrilling adventure story with a warm, human heart.’
What Cathy Read Next’s verdict: Coming soon!

WaltScott_GraceGrace by Paul Lynch

What the judges say: ‘Lynch’s narrative gripped us from the start and never let us go.’
What Cathy Read Next’s verdict: Coming soon!

TheWardrobeMistressThe Wardrobe Mistress by Patrick McGrath

What the judges say: ‘a novel which, whilst superbly evoking post-war theatrical life, pulses with contemporary disquiet.’
What Cathy Read Next’s verdict: ‘The Wardrobe Mistress had it all for me: atmospheric period setting, intriguing mystery and well-developed characters.’

Miss Boston and Miss Hargreaves PbackMiss Boston and Miss Hargreaves by Rachel Malik

What the judges say: ‘a quietly beautiful and brilliant novel that captures the heart and essence of a love story.’
What Cathy Read Next’s verdict: ‘Moving, tender, engaging…. I absolutely fell in love with it.’

WaltScott_The Gallows PoleThe Gallows Pole by Benjamin Myers

What the judges say: ‘The writing is brutal but lyrical and deeply affecting.’
What Cathy Read Next’s verdict: ‘The story that unfolds is as compelling as the language…gritty, immersive.’


Are there books you’re surprised to see on the shortlist?  Are there favourites you’re sad didn’t make it?  Are you planning to read some or all of the shortlisted books?  Do you have any early predictions for the eventual prizewinner?  

7 thoughts on “The Walter Scott Prize for Historical Fiction 2018 Shortlist

    1. From the comments they seem quite taken with Grace – one of the three I haven’t read and the only one I haven’t been able to find at my local library or Waterstones, which I guess puts it in the ‘dark horse’ category. Although my heart says Miss Boston and Hargreaves, I still have an feeling about The Gallows Pole. However, that may change when I read the next one which is probably going to be Sugar Money.

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  1. I’ll be interested to hear what you think of Sugar Money. I’m enjoying it, but not as much as the other two Jane Harris books I’ve read. I’m looking forward to working through the rest of the shortlist – the three you’ve read all sound great!

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  2. Frankly, despite usually being a Jennifer Egan fan, I’m surprised Manhattan Beach made it on the shortlist. I thought it was lacking as a historical novel. I’m curious to read the others.

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