The 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?