Wolf Hall

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Longlist of best historical novels released

photoAnd the Oscar goes to … oops, sorry, wrong golden moment. Just as the stars were celebrating winning an illustrious bald statue, 15 authors were having their own, quieter, moment of pleasure having been named on the longlist for the Walter Scott Prize for historical fiction. Sir Walter Scott, the Scottish novelist and poet, is considered by many a founding father of the historical novel with Ivanhoe, one of the collection known as the Waverley Novels, amongst his most famous books.

In coming up with the award longlist, which increased from 12 last year, the judges did a considerable amount of time travelling from 11th Century England (The Wake by Paul Kingsnorth) to 17th Century Amsterdam (The Miniaturist by Jessie Burton) to 20th Century Europe (The Zone by Martin Amis) and  occasionally, even further afield. The shortlist will be announced next month with the final winner being revealed at the Borders Book Festival in June. Previous winners are: Hilary Mantel (Wolf Hall), Andrea Levy (The Long Story), Sebastian Barry (On Canaan’s Side), Tan Twan Eng (The Garden of Evening Mists) and Robert Harris (An Officer and a Spy).

The full long list is:

Eat, Pray, Analyse: Elizabeth Gilbert on Hilary Mantel’s Wolf Hall and writing historical fiction that is not “Dickensian”

Based on the theory that good writers are interested in, and knowledgeable about,  other good writers and writing, The Wall Street Journal has started a new book club where a different author will each month analyse the work of a fellow-writer. This month, Elizabeth Gilbert, famous for her Eat, Pray, Love,  says that her big fear when…

Booker winner … perhaps.

With the announcement of the Booker Prize winner imminent, and having read five of the books on the shortlist, I am declaring my hand and announcing my winner now: Bring Up The Bodies by Hilary Mantel.  It was a close thing though. Right up to the end I have been…


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