The Walter Scott Prize for Historical Fiction 2021: Some Contenders?

WalterScottPrizeThe deadline for publishers to submit books published in 2020 for The Walter Scott Prize for Historical Fiction 2021 is fast approaching. The prize is open to novels written in English and published in the previous year in the UK, Ireland or the Commonwealth. Reflecting the subtitle ‘Sixty Years Since’ of Scott’s famous work Waverley, the majority of the storyline must have taken place at least 60 years ago.

Like other historical fiction fans, I shall be eagerly awaiting the announcement of the longlist in March 2021 and the shortlist the following month. As in previous years, I’ll try to read as many as possible of the longlisted novels that I haven’t read already and all those that make it on to the shortlist.

There were some fantastic historical fiction novels published in 2020. Below are some I’ve read that I’d love to see make the longlist, some books in my TBR pile which judging from reviews may well deserve a place, and a few others I don’t yet have copies of but which look like possible contenders for inclusion (subject in each case to them meeting all the eligibility criteria). Links from the titles will take you to my review or the book description on Goodreads.

Check back when the longlist is announced to see if any of my picks match the judges’ choices.


Books I read in 2020 

The Lost Lights of St Kilda by Elisabeth Gifford

Miss Graham’s Cold War Cookbook by Celia Rees

V2 by Robert Harris

Imperfect Alchemist by Naomi Miller

When We Fall by Carolyn Kirby

People Like Us by Louise Fein

V For Victory by Lissa Evans

City of Spies by Mara Timon

A Thousand Moons by Sebastian Barry

Hamnet by Maggie O’Farrell

Books in my TBR pile

The Devil and the Dark Water by Stuart Turton

The Mirror & The Light by Hilary Mantel

The Diver and the Lover by Jeremy Vine

Miss Benson’s Beetle by Rachel Joyce

The Foundling by Stacey Halls

Books on my RADAR

The Betrayals by Bridget Collins

Islands of Mercy by Rose Tremain

The Evening and the Morning by Ken Follett

One August Night by Victoria Hislop

The Last Protector by Andrew Taylor

This Lovely City by Louise Hare

Are any of your favourites on my list?  What other historical fiction novels published in 2020 do you think deserve to be nominated?

#TopTenTuesday Books I Read Because Someone Recommended Them

Top Ten Tuesday


Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme created by The Broke and the Bookish and now hosted by Jana at That Artsy Reader Girl.

The rules are simple:

Each Tuesday, Jana assigns a new topic. Create your own Top Ten list that fits that topic – putting your unique spin on it if you want. Everyone is welcome to join but please link back to That Artsy Reader Girl in your own Top Ten Tuesday post. Add your name to the Linky widget on that day’s post so that everyone can check out other bloggers’ lists. Or if you don’t have a blog, just post your answers as a comment.

This week’s topic is Books I Read Because Someone Recommended Them To Me. Since pretty much every book I’ve read in the past few years, that is in my TBR pile or on my wishlist is the result of reading reviews by book bloggers whose opinions I rate, I could have constructed a list based on just those. In fact, several dozen lists.

However, I’ve decided to focus on my other main source of recommendations, namely books nominated for literary prizes. In particular The Walter Scott Prize for Historical Fiction, whose annual longlists have introduced me to many fabulous books and authors of which I might not otherwise have been aware. Here are just a few…

A Country Road, A Tree by Jo Baker (Shortlist, 2017)
Mothering Sunday by Graham Swift (Shortlist, 2017)
Golden Hill by Francis Spufford (Shortlist, 2017)
Grace by Paul Lynch (Shortlist, 2018)
The Wardrobe Mistress by Patrick McGrath (Shortlist, 2018)


The Gallows Pole by Benjamin Myers (Winner, 2018)
The Wanderers by Tim Pears (Longlist, 2019)
Shadowplay by Joseph O’Connor (Shortlist, 2020)
The Offing by Benjamin Myers (Longlist, 2020)
The Narrow Land by Christine Dwyer Hickey (Winner, 2020)