FOUR books have been shortlisted for the prestigious Walter Scott Prize for Historical Fiction.

Featuring two Scots, one Irishman and an Irish-Trinidadian, the shortlist is the first in the prize’s thirteen-year history not to include an English writer, and the first to be composed of four books.

Settings include the riven and violent Scotland of the 1570s; a fictitious Highland glen through three different eras; the Caribbean oil rush of the 1920s; and twentieth-century Europe, seen though the life of one of its most celebrated writers, Thomas Mann.

The judges said: “‘Debate at Walter Scott Prize meetings is always lively. Hard choices must be made. But informed, as always, by the WSP’s criteria of ambition, innovation, enduring appeal and quality of writing, the four books on our shortlist shone brightly in this year’s firmament. We hope readers will celebrate the art and craft of each and enjoy four very different tales very differently told.”

First awarded in 2010 to Hilary Mantel’s Wolf Hall, and sponsored by the Duke and Duchess of Buccleuch, the Walter Scott Prize for Historical Fiction honours the inventor of the historical fiction genre and Buccleuch kinsman, Sir Walter Scott.

The prize judging panel comprises Katie Grant (Chair), Elizabeth Buccleuch, James Holloway, Elizabeth Laird, James Naughtie and Kirsty Wark.

The winner receives £25,000, and each shortlisted author receives £1,500, making the Walter Scott Prize amongst the richest fiction prizes in the UK.

Its previous winners are Hilary Mantel and Sebastian Barry (both twice winners), Andrea Levy, Tan Twan Eng, Robert Harris, John Spurling, Simon Mawer, Benjamin Myers, Robin Robertson, and Christine Dwyer Hickey.

The shortlisted books are: Rose Nicholson by Andrew Greig which is set in 1573 and opens with the fall of Edinburgh Castle to the Reformers, News of the Dead by James Robertson which is set in a remote Scottish glen where three remarkable people have lived at different times, Fortune by Amanda Smyth which is set in 1920s oil-rush Trinidad and involves a man in search of a fortune and The Magician by Colm Tóibín which dramatizes the life of novelist Thomas Mann.

The winner will be announced at a special event at the Borders Book Festival on Friday 17th June 2022, which also honours the winners of the prize’s counterpart for young writers, the Young Walter Scott Prize.