The Walter Scott Prize longlist 2017

I’ve mentioned before that I am attempting to read all of the books shortlisted for the Walter Scott Prize for Historical Fiction since the prize began in 2010. I am always looking for quality historical fiction and I have found the books nominated for this particular prize to be of a consistently high standard. You can see the progress I’ve made with this project here – Kay of What Me Read has also joined in and if anyone else wants to take part you’re very welcome!

The longlist for this year’s prize has just been announced and includes lots of intriguing titles. I’m not planning on trying to read the entire longlist – I’m waiting until the shortlist is announced – but I might still dip into this list from time to time.

Here are the thirteen books on the 2017 longlist.  As you can see, I’ve only read one so far.

days-without-endA Country Road, A Tree by Jo Baker
The Noise of Time by Julian Barnes
Days Without End by Sebastian Barry
Crane Pond by Richard Francis
The Dark Circle by Linda Grant
The Vanishing Futurist by Charlotte Hobson
The Good People by Hannah Kent
Minds of Winter by Ed O’Loughlin
The Essex Serpent by Sarah Perry
The Last Painting of Sara de Vos by Dominic Smith
Golden Hill by Francis Spufford
Mothering Sunday by Graham Swift
The Gustav Sonata by Rose Tremain

It doesn’t surprise me that Days Without End is on the list and it wouldn’t surprise me if it ends up as the winner. I didn’t enjoy it as much as the other Sebastian Barry books I’ve read, but it’s the sort of book that usually does very well as far as prizes are concerned. I’m delighted to see The Good People on the list as I read it recently and loved it (review coming soon) and also Golden Hill, which I just started reading yesterday.

Of the rest, I was already interested in reading The Gustav Sonata and The Essex Serpent, but I know little or nothing about most of the others.

Have you read any of the books on this year’s longlist? Which ones do you think deserve to be on the shortlist?

For the first time this year, the Walter Scott Prize Academy has also put together an additional list of twenty recommended novels. I won’t post the complete list here (you can see it on the Walter Scott Prize website) but I’m pleased to see mentions of Orphans of the Carnival and The Ashes of London, as well as several other novels I’ve read or am interested in. Lots of great ideas for future reading there!

17 thoughts on “The Walter Scott Prize longlist 2017

  1. Carmen says:

    Last year I read The Last Painting of Sara de Vos and liked it a lot. I am going to start reading Minds of Winter next week, I found its premise very intriguing.

    • Helen says:

      I don’t know anything about either of those books, so I’m pleased to hear you liked The Last Painting of Sara de Vos. I hope you enjoy Minds of Winter too.

  2. whatmeread says:

    Oh, The Essex Serpent made it on the list! I just finished reading it! Didn’t you already read that one, too? I’m excited to read the new Hannah Kent as well. I feel bad because I haven’t made much headway on last year’s short list, mostly because I can’t find very many of them at the library.

    • Helen says:

      I haven’t read The Essex Serpent yet, but I’ve wanted to for ages so I’m pleased to see it on the list. I’ve only read two of the books from last year’s shortlist and haven’t found any of the others yet either.

      • whatmeread says:

        I think I got you mixed up with someone else. Someone reviewed it earlier, and that’s why I got it. I notice that the other day my friend Carolyn from Rosemary and Reading Glasses also reviewed it. Maybe it will be easier to find the books from the shortlist after they’ve been out longer.

  3. FictionFan says:

    I’ve only read The Good People, which I unfortunately didn’t love, and The Noise of Time which was rather typically Barnes – well written but somewhat cold and emotionally detached. But I have Days Without End coming up soon and am looking forward to it. I’ve also been tempted by The Essex Serpent based on some pretty positive reviews I’ve seen of it, but have resisted so far…

    • Helen says:

      I haven’t read anything by Julian Barnes yet as his books have just never sounded very appealing to me. The Essex Serpent does sound tempting and I’m sure I’ll be reading it sooner or later!

    • Helen says:

      This prize has introduced me to some great authors and books which I might not have read otherwise, such as Robert Harris’ books set in Ancient Rome and CJ Sansom’s Shardlake series. 🙂

  4. Elle says:

    Just finished Days Without End and loved it; it’s my first Barry and I thought it stunning. Golden Hill is thoroughly wonderful, and The Essex Serpent is very good – I didn’t adore it with a wild passion, as I was probably meant to, but it is still a book with a lot to recommend it, not least the descriptions of landscapes and food! I’ve also read The Dark Circle, which is the sort of book where you miss a lot the first time round. This may in some way prevent a reader from fully engaging with the characters, but as a historical novelist Linda Grant takes the time period she’s chosen really seriously, and I liked that, the way that she tries to give you a sense of how people thought and felt. I really want to read Mothering Sunday and The Gustav Sonata, too.

    • Helen says:

      I’m pleased to hear you liked The Essex Serpent, even if you didn’t adore it! I read one of Linda Grant’s other novels a few years ago – We Had It So Good – and thought it was an interesting read, so I would like to give The Dark Circle a try even if it doesn’t make the shortlist for this prize.

  5. TJ @ MyBookStrings says:

    This longlist only confirms that this is really a prize I should pay attention to. Not that I have read any of them, but I’ve heard good things about a number of the books, and those are all ones I’d like to read. I think The Gustav Sonata is probably the one I would start out with. Well, I guess it’s time to visit the prize’s website again and make a list of potential reads.

    • Helen says:

      Most of the books I’ve read so far from the shortlists/longlists for this prize have been excellent. I’m looking forward to reading The Gustav Sonata as I’ve enjoyed some of Rose Tremain’s other books.

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