THE judges of the Walter Scott Prize for Historical Fiction have announced a shortlist of seven books going forward for the £25,000 award.

The shortlist is: These Days - Lucy Caldwell (Faber), The Geometer Lobachevsky - Adrian Duncan (Tuskar Rock Press) Act of Oblivion - Robert Harris (Hutchinson Heinemann), The Chosen - Elizabeth Lowry (Riverrun), The Sun Walks Down - Fiona McFarlane (Allen & Unwin Australia), Ancestry - Simon Mawer (Little, Brown) and I Am Not Your Eve - Devika Ponnambalam (Bluemoose).  

READ MORE: Witness appeal after E-Mountain Bike stolen from play park

The judges said: “Cat and mouse with 17th Century regicides. Love in the Belfast blitz. The death of Emma Hardy. A lost boy (and so much else) in southern Australia. A Soviet exile in Ireland. A dig into personal ancestry.

“The voice of a voiceless muse. Seven very different stories with very different approaches have reached the shortlist for this year’s Walter Scott Prize for Historical Fiction. And as with the best historical novels, each book offers the reader more than the story.

‘This year we explore martyrdom, self-knowledge, remorse, exile, art's human price, complex relationships under an unsettling sun and the impossibility of knowing exactly who we are.

READ MORE: Police warn eight drivers during speeding day of action in Borders

“As required by the prize criteria, all the novels on our 2023 shortlist are set sixty years or more in the past, but how vividly they speak to the present. We hope you'll read, enjoy and watch out for the winner.”

First awarded in 2010 to Hilary Mantel’s Wolf Hall, and sponsored by the Duke and Duchess of Buccleuch, the Walter Scott Prize for Historical Fiction honours the inventor of the historical fiction genre and Buccleuch kinsman, Sir Walter Scott.

The prize judging panel comprises Katie Grant (Chair), Elizabeth Buccleuch, James Holloway, Elizabeth Laird, James Naughtie, Kirsty Wark and, for 2023, award-winning documentary maker, journalist and writer Saira Shah.

READ MORE:Five nights of resurfacing work on A7 starts tonight

The winner receives £25,000, and each shortlisted author receives £1,500, making the Walter Scott Prize amongst the richest fiction prizes in the UK. Its previous winners are Hilary Mantel and Sebastian Barry (both twice winners), Andrea Levy, Tan Twan Eng, Robert Harris, John Spurling, Simon Mawer, Benjamin Myers, Robin Robertson, Christine Dwyer Hickey and James Robertson.

The winner will be announced at a special event at the Borders Book Festival on Thursday June 15 2023, which also honours the winners of the prize’s counterpart for young writers, the Young Walter Scott Prize.