• Borders Book Festival 2017
    2017 Walter Scott Prize winner Sebastian Barry
  • Borders Book Festival
    The Walter Scott Prize is awarded at the Borders Book Festival in Scotland
  • WSP shortlist 2017
    The Walter Scott Prize 2017 Shortlist
    'This shortlist made us all sit up and think'
    The Guardian, April 2017
  • 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 the Walter Scott Prize for Historical Fiction
  • slide_duke_duchess
    Prize founders and sponsors, the Duke and Duchess of Buccleuch
  • slide_glasses
    'It seems to me that the prize itself has not only boosted and bolstered the historical novel, but also has begun to redefine it'
    Sebastian Barry, winner of the 2017 Walter Scott Prize for Historical Fiction


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 over £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, and innovation of writing in the English language, and is open to books 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.

The 2018 Prize has just closed for entries.  For more information and submission forms, see The 2018 Prize page.

More about the Walter Scott Prize »

The Young Walter Scott Prize

The Young Walter Scott Prize is the UK’s only creative writing prize dedicated to historical fiction.  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.  Alongside the writing prize runs a series of creative writing workshops in inspirational historical venues across the UK, the Imagining History programme.

Stories can be inspired by any aspect of the past – an actual historical event, place or person, and 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.

The 2017 YWSP closed on 31st October 2017 – more news on the judging process soon!

Our Imagining History workshop programme has now finished for 2017.   Find out more about it here.






  • 2018 Walter Scott Prize opens for entries

    Books have been arriving from all corners of the globe here at Walter Scott prize HQ.   The closing date for submissions from publishers is 31st January 2018.  For full details and the prize rules, go to our 2018 Prize page.

  • See the fascinating results of our period settings survey

    To mark the opening of this year’s Walter Scott Prize, we conducted an extensive survey into the period settings of historical fiction, based on the 650 novels submitted for the prize over its eight-year history. You can see the fascinating survey findings here.

  • The YWSP is now closed

    The Young Walter Scott Prize writing competition has now closed for entries for 2017.  Thank you for all your submissions – a selection of which are seen here gracing the post room at Bowhill House – and we’ll be back soon with more news!