The Walter Scott Prize 2019 Longlist – and the Academy Recommends

If you’ve been following my blog for a while you will know that I have been slowly (very slowly) working through 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 find that the books nominated for this particular prize are of a consistently high standard. You can see the progress I’ve made with this here – and I know there are other bloggers working on similar projects too.

The longlist for the 2019 prize has been announced today 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 would still like to read as many of these as I can.

Here are the twelve books on this year’s longlist:

Little by Edward Carey (Gallic Books)
A Long Way From Home by Peter Carey (Faber)
After The Party by Cressida Connolly (Viking)
Washington Black by Esi Edugyan (Serpent’s Tail)
The Western Wind by Samantha Harvey (Jonathan Cape)
Dark Water by Elizabeth Lowry (riverrun)
Now We Shall Be Entirely Free by Andrew Miller (Sceptre)
Warlight by Michael Ondaatje (Jonathan Cape)
The Wanderers by Tim Pears (Bloomsbury)
The Long Take by Robin Robertson (Picador)
All The Lives We Never Lived by Anuradha Roy (Maclehose Press)
Tombland by C J Sansom (Mantle)

The only one of these I’ve read so far is Now We Shall Be Entirely Free, which I enjoyed, but I have Tombland and The Western Wind on my TBR and was already interested in reading Washington Black as well. I also have a copy of The Horseman, which is the first book in Tim Pears’ West Country Trilogy; I will need to read that one before I can read The Wanderers.

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

Academy Recommends

In addition, the Walter Scott Prize Academy has also announced its annual list of twenty recommended historical fiction novels published in the last year (these books are separate from the longlist and have not been nominated for the prize).

Love Is Blind by William Boyd (Viking)
The Prince Of Mirrors by Alan Robert Clark (Fairlight Books)
The Making Of Martin Sparrow by Peter Cochrane (Viking Australia)
So Much Life Left Over by Louis de Bernieres (Harvill Secker)
All Among The Barley by Melissa Harrison (Bloomsbury)
The Hundred Wells Of Salaga by Ayesha Harruna Attah (Cassava Republic)
Only Killers And Thieves by Paul Howarth (Pushkin Press)
Mary Ann Sate, Imbecile by Alice Jolly (Unbound)
The Black Earth by Philip Kazan (Allison & Busby)
The Sealwoman’s Gift by Sally Magnusson (Two Roads)
Mad Blood Stirring by Simon Mayo (Doubleday)
As The Women Lay Dreaming by Donald S Murray (Saraband)
Kintu by Jennifer Nansubaga Makumbi (Oneworld)
The Angel’s Mark by S J Perry (Corvus)
A View Of The Empire At Sunset by Caryl Phillips (Vintage)
Painter To The King by Amy Sackville (Granta)
A Treachery Of Spies by Manda Scott (Bantam Press)
The Tristan Chord by Glenn Skwerer (Unbound)
Never Anyone But You by Rupert Thomson (Corsair)
The Madonna Of The Mountains by Elise Valmorbida (Faber)

Again, I have read one of these books and enjoyed it – The Sealwoman’s Gift by Sally Magnusson. I’ve heard of a few of the others, but most of them are new to me. I have a lot of investigating to do!

You can find out more about the books and the Academy here. What do you think of their choices?

25 thoughts on “The Walter Scott Prize 2019 Longlist – and the Academy Recommends

  1. whatcathyreadnext says:

    I’ve only read After The Party, although I didn’t rate it that highly, and I have The Western Wind, Now We Shall Be Entirely Free, Tombland and Warlight in my TBR pile. I’ve added the others (some of which were completely new to me) to my wishlist. Whether I’ll manage to read the entire long list, I’m not sure. There are a few books on the list, like The Long Take, that don’t appeal that much.

    I haven’t dared to take a close look at the Academy Recommends list yet but I noticed All Among the Barley which I’m listening to on audio book at the moment.

    • Helen says:

      I’ll look forward to your reviews of some of those books when you get round to reading them, Cathy. I doubt that I’ll have time to read many of them before the shortlist is announced. The Long Take doesn’t sound very appealing to me either, although I’ll give it a try if it appears on the shortlist.

  2. Lisa says:

    Most of these titles and authors are completely new to me. I discover more about historical fiction from your blog than anywhere else these days, though I don’t seem to read as much in that category as I used to.

    • Helen says:

      A lot of them are new to me too, Lisa, although I thought I’d been keeping up to date with new historical fiction over the last year!

  3. Café Society says:

    I haven’t read any of these, although I would like to read the Miller, having enjoyed his other work and Washington Black is the May selection for one of my book groups.

    • Helen says:

      I would like to read Washington Black eventually, but I already have an unread copy of Esi Edugyan’s previous book, Half Blood Blues, which I feel I should probably read first.

  4. Margaret says:

    I’ve read The Western Wind, Now We Shall Be Entirely Free and Tombland – loved each one, so I hope they’re on the shortlist! I have Love is Blind from the recommended list – but haven’t read it yet.

    • Helen says:

      I’m glad you loved The Western Wind and Tombland – I already have copies of both of those and will try to read them before the shortlist is revealed.

  5. Elle says:

    The Madonna of the Mountains (last title on the Academy Recommends list) is magnificent and should have been on the longlist. I can also say, re. Tim Pears’s The Wanderers, that you don’t need to have read The Horseman to read it; I didn’t, and I still thought The Wanderers was marvelous.

    • Helen says:

      I had never heard of The Madonna of the Mountains until now, so I’m glad to hear you enjoyed it so much! It’s good to know that I could read The Wanderers first, but I do already have a copy of The Horseman so it probably makes sense to start with that one.

  6. whatmeread says:

    I have three of these books in my reading pile right now! I hope they all make it to the short list, because I’ll get a head start. I have Little, Washington Black, and Tombland. I haven’t read any on the recommended list, but I wasn’t aware of this list before. That’s a nice feature. I see you’ve already read one on the longlist and one on the recommended list. I will have to look back at your review from the longlist, because I don’t remember it.

  7. Carmen says:

    I have Washington Black and Warlight to read in the upcoming months; all the rest are new to me. Both made the long list for the Booker last year as well.

    • Helen says:

      I hadn’t really thought about reading Warlight, but if it’s named on the shortlist I’ll have to read it as part of my project. I hope you enjoy it – and Washington Black too, which I’ll get round to eventually!

  8. piningforthewest says:

    There aren’t many of these books that I’ve even heard of but like you I did enjoy The Sealwoman’s Gift. I’m on a library waiting list for Tombland – I think I’m 36th, I hope they have several copies!

  9. FictionFan says:

    I’ve only read two of the longlist. I fear I abandoned Washington Black, but I loved Tombland! I’d like to read the Andrew Miller at some point, but don’t really know much about any of the rest of them. So I’ll wait till you review them!

    • Helen says:

      I’m expecting to love Tombland too, so I don’t know why it’s taking me so long to get round to reading it! Washington Black seems to have been getting mixed reviews – I’ll be interested to try it for myself at some point.

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