CARIBBEAN writer Kevin Jared Hosein has won the 2024 Walter Scott Prize for Historical Fiction for his novel Hungry Ghosts.

The book tells the story of marginalised Hindu communities in Trinidad during the 1940s.

The author, who lives in Trinidad and Tobago, was awarded the £25,000 prize at the Borders Book Festival on Thursday (June 13) by Walter Scott’s great-great-great-great grandson, Matthew Maxwell Scott.

“Truly a privilege to be shortlisted and to have Trinidad and Tobago be represented on such an impressive stage,” he said. “Moreover, I feel like I am accomplishing the dreams of my ancestors when they first crossed those dark seas from India almost two centuries ago.”

He is the author of two previous novels and won the Commonwealth Short Story Prize in 2018.  

The prestigious fiction prize is among the richest in the UK.

Mr Maxwell Scott, a trustee of his ancestor’s residence, Abbotsford, which also now manages the prize, said: “As Scott was the inspiration for the genre of historical fiction, we hope this year’s nominees and winner can inspire many more authors in their writing careers. 

“Those of us involved in preserving Abbotsford and Scott’s legacy could not be prouder to associate ourselves with this wonderful prize and its supremely gifted recipients.”

Writer Katie Grant, who chaired the judging panel, added: “Richly imaginative, urgent and compelling, Hungry Ghosts plunges us into the turbulence of precarious lives struggling to flourish amid the vivid natural lushness of 1940s Trinidad. 

“For the 2024 Walter Scott Prize Kevin Jared Hosein has triumphed with a many-layered tale woven with the dexterity and alchemy of the true story-teller.”