• Borders Book Festival
    The Walter Scott Prize is awarded at Borders Book Festival, Melrose
  • Walter Scott Prize Jury
  • Borders Book Festival audience
    Much the best thing that has happened for lovers of historical fiction
    is the founding of this prize"
    Hilary Mantel, 2010 winner of theWalter Scott Prize for Historical Fiction
  • Simon Mawer wins the Walter Scott Prize 2016
    2016 winner Simon Mawer
  • slide_duke_duchess
    Prize founders and sponsors, the Duke and Duchess of Buccleuch
  • slide_glasses
  • Lindean Glass trophy
    The Walter Scott Prize winner's trophy, by Lindean Glass


The Walter Scott Prize for Historical Fiction

Scott portrait cropped

Sir Walter Scott from a portrait by Raeburn

Honouring the achievements of the founding father of the historical novel, the Walter Scott Prize for Historical Fiction is one of the most prestigious literary prizes in the world.  With a total value of £30,000, it is unique for rewarding writing of exceptional quality which is set in the past.

Sponsored by Sir Walter Scott’s distant kinsmen the Duke and Duchess of Buccleuch, the Prize celebrates quality, innovation and longevity of writing in the English language, and is open to books first published in the previous year in the UK, Ireland or the Commonwealth. Reflecting the subtitle ‘Sixty Years Since’ of Scott’s most famous work Waverley, the majority of the storyline must have taken place at least 60 years ago.

The Prize was founded in 2010, and is awarded at the Borders Book Festival in Melrose, Scotland, in June every year. The winner receives £25,000 and shortlisted authors each receive £1000.  You can watch a video of the 2016 Prize Ceremony here.

More about the Walter Scott Prize »

The Young Walter Scott Prize

The Young Walter Scott Prize is the UK’s first historical fiction writing competition for young people. It seeks to connect young people to their world by asking them to investigate their history, their environment and the stories of people. It is named for Sir Walter Scott, who as a young man discovered his inspiration among the hills, people and stories of the Scottish Borders.

Now in its second year, the 2016 Young Walter Scott Prize has just closed for entries – the closing date was 31st October 2016.

You can find out more about the YWSP and how to enter, and read the stories by last year’s winners here: More about the Young Walter Scott Prize »

Stories can be inspired by any aspect of the past – an actual historical event, place or person. They can be written in prose of any kind – stories, extracts from a longer work, diaries, letters or reportage. The work can be set at any time in history – as long as it is a period before its author was born, in a world recognisably different from the present.  Stories should be between 800 and 2000 words long.

Having successfully run a series of inspirational Imagining History workshops this summer in East Anglia, Edinburgh and the Borders, the YWSP is currently working on the programme of workshops for 2017.  Watch this space for more details.




  • Three new judges are announced

    We’re delighted to announce three new judges to the WSP panel – Kate Figes, Katharine Grant and James Holloway.  Find out all about them here

  • The Prize reaches Australia

    Our patron, the Duke of Buccleuch, recently met up with Academy member Jemma Birrell at Bondi Beach in Sydney.  Read about it here

  • Announcing our new Academy

    The Walter Scott Prize has a new Academy!

    Designed to broaden the global reach and strengthen the resources of the Prize, the Academy is an advisory group feeding into the submission process, comprising people at the centre of literary life in the UK and in Commonwealth countries around the world, whose positions and knowledge give them a unique standpoint to help the Prize find its next winners.

    To find out more, see our Academy page.

  • As winter arrives, so do the books

    The Walter Scott Prize is now open – and we’ve been enjoying unpacking the first rush of entries here at WSP HQ in Scotland.  Publishers have until Tuesday 31st January 2017 to enter books published during 2016.  For more details go to our 2017 Prize page.