2016 Walter Scott Prize shortlist

Following the announcement last month of this year’s longlist for the Walter Scott Prize for Historical Fiction, today the shortlist of six books has been revealed. As I am currently attempting to work my way through all of the books shortlisted for the prize since it began in 2010 (see my progress here), I was particularly interested to see which titles would make the list this year. And here they are:

Sweet Caress by William Boyd

Sweet Caress

A Place Called Winter by Patrick Gale

A Place Called Winter

Mrs Engels by Gavin McCrea

Mrs Engels

End Games in Bordeaux by Allan Massie

End Games in Bordeaux

Tightrope by Simon Mawer


Salt Creek by Lucy Treloar

Salt Creek

Have you read any of these? If not, are there any you’re interested in reading?

So far I have only read one of the six – A Place Called Winter, which I enjoyed, although I haven’t posted my review yet. I know very little about any of the other books on the list, but I do know that Tightrope is a sequel and End Games in Bordeaux is the fourth in a quartet, which means, with my preference for reading a series in order, I will have some catching up to do before I can start either of those two!

I’m surprised – and slightly disappointed – that there’s no place on the shortlist for A God in Ruins by Kate Atkinson or Dictator by Robert Harris, both of which had been longlisted, but congratulations to the six authors above. The winner will be announced in June.

16 thoughts on “2016 Walter Scott Prize shortlist

  1. Judy Krueger says:

    I have not read any of them but thanks for the list. I am a William Boyd fan and was planning to read that one. I am also mildly interested in Mrs Engels, though have a lingering suspicion about all the “wife books.”

    • Helen says:

      Mrs Engels sounds interesting to me too – hopefully it will be one of the better of the ‘wife books’. I haven’t read anything by William Boyd yet, but am looking forward to trying Sweet Caress.

  2. piningforthewest says:

    I’m interested in reading the Allan Massie book but will obviously have to read the previous books. I’m also disappointed that A God in Ruins didn’t make the short list, I really enjoyed that one.

  3. whatmeread says:

    I had been wondering lately if the short list was going to come out soon, but I was trusting that you would post it as soon as it did. 🙂 The only book I have read on the list is Sweet Caress, and that was good. I would also like to have seen A God in Ruins in the list. I just got finished with a book from a few years earlier by Simon Mawer, and I have to say that I’m not really looking forward that much to reading another one. I didn’t dislike the first book exactly (The Glass Room), but there were some things he did in it that seemed unnecessary. Well, I will update my page with this list!

  4. jessicabookworm says:

    I haven’t read any of these and actually, except for A Place Called Winter by Patrick Gale, I haven’t heard of any of these! I hope you continue to enjoy reading your way through all the short-listed books.

    • Helen says:

      I hadn’t heard of most of these either, but one of the reasons I enjoy following this prize is that it has introduced me to lots of great authors I might never have read otherwise.

  5. Elle says:

    Tightrope is pretty excellent—I read it last year, and you don’t need to have read any of Mawer’s previous books (I hadn’t and it didn’t affect my understanding). Really enjoyed it, like a more femme-focused Le Carre or Graham Greene.

    • Helen says:

      That’s good to know. I wasn’t sure whether Mawer would be my sort of author, but you’ve made me feel much more enthusiastic about trying his books. I’ve read that Tightrope is a sequel to one of his previous books, so I’m glad to hear that it stands alone too.

      • Elle says:

        I like the way that he portrays his female protagonist as roundedly flawed, too. She’s not just a vamp or a virgin, she’s been through severe trauma and is also tough as nails–but human. It’s an impressive balancing act (especially for a male author, reductive though that sounds.)

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