After the Sunday Papers #17

“She had read novels while other people perused the Sunday papers” ~ Mary Elizabeth Braddon, The Doctor’s Wife

With several pieces of bookish news to share with you today, I decided it was time to bring back, after a four year absence, my After the Sunday Papers posts, which were always very useful when I had a few book-related things to mention but didn’t need to devote a whole separate post to each of them. I’m not intending to make this a weekly feature again (not that it ever really was) but I will put a post together as and when I feel that I have something to talk about.

First of all, I want to congratulate author Benjamin Myers on winning this year’s Walter Scott Prize for Historical Fiction, which was awarded at the Borders Book Festival last night. As some of you will know, I am currently attempting to work my way through all of the shortlisted titles since 2010, so I have a particular interest in following this prize.

The six books on the 2018 shortlist were:

Jennifer Egan – Manhattan Beach
Jane Harris – Sugar Money [My review]
Paul Lynch – Grace
Patrick McGrath – The Wardrobe Mistress
Rachel Malik – Miss Boston and Miss Hargreaves
Benjamin Myers – The Gallows Pole

I haven’t read The Gallows Pole yet (in fact I haven’t made much progress at all with this year’s list, as you can see) but I’m looking forward to reading it and finding out why it impressed the judges so much.

This is what the book is about:

From his remote moorland home David Hartley assembles a gang of weavers and land workers to embark upon a criminal enterprise that will capsize the economy and become the biggest fraud in British history.They are the Cragg Vale Coiners and their business is clipping – the forging of coins, a treasonous offence punishable by death.

Have you read it? Do you think it is a deserving winner?


Last week also saw the launch of this year’s Reader Survey hosted by M.K. Tod, Heather Burch and Patricia Sands. This annual survey used to be specific to historical fiction, but this year it has been expanded to cover all genres. The results, when they are made available, are always interesting to see, so I definitely think it’s worth participating in this survey.

This is what the survey hosts have to say about it:

What do readers want? What constitutes a compelling story? How do men and women differ in their preferences? Where do readers find recommendations? How do readers share their book experiences?

ANNOUNCING A 2018 READER SURVEY designed to solicit input on these topics and others.

Please take the survey and share the link 
with friends and family via email or your favourite social media. Robust participation across age groups, genders, and countries will make this year’s survey – the 4th – even more significant.

9 thoughts on “After the Sunday Papers #17

  1. lizzysiddal says:

    I can’t tell you how happy I am about Myers’s win. Not that I’ve read it (yet). Something to do with being a Northerner I guess. At least it makes up for that absolutely atrocious book cover.

    • Helen says:

      As another Northerner, I’m happy that Myers has won too, despite not having read the book yet. And no, it’s certainly not the most attractive of book covers!

  2. FictionFan says:

    I keep adding The Gallows Pole to my wishlist and then taking it off again depending on the review I last read of it. The blurb appeals, but I get the impression the writing style is quite gimmicky, or perhaps I should say innovative! I’ll be interested to hear what you think of it when you get to it…

    • Helen says:

      It sounds interesting, but I have a feeling I’m going to struggle with the writing style too. I will be reading it eventually, though, as I’ve committed myself to reading the whole shortlist.

  3. Carmen says:

    I like this bookish feature. It’s OK if it’s not a regular thing, but it helps us bloggers to keep up with bookish stuff in the news. I hadn’t heard of that one. The blurb sounds compelling but I agree that the cover is atrocious; it’s more suitable to the Sci-fi genre than historical fiction. 😉

    • Helen says:

      I’ve been holding back from reading the Myers book too, but I will probably read it soon. It will be interesting to see the results of the survey!

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