The 2017 Prize

The 2017 winner

Sebastian Barry was awarded the 2017 Walter Scott Prize for Historical Fiction for his epic American novel Days Without End on 17th June 2017. Barry’s previous book On Canaan’s Side was a winner in 2012, and he returned to the Borders Book Festival in Melrose, Scotland to receive his Prize from the Duke of Buccleuch.  Joining him on stage were shortlisted authors Jo Baker, Charlotte Hobson and Francis Spufford.
Watch the announcement here:

The Judges said:

‘Our decision to award Sebastian Barry’s Days Without End was one of the hardest the Walter Scott Prize has ever had to make.  With all seven books on the shortlist having strong supporters on the judging panel who championed their cause in a protracted and passionate debate about the nature and purpose of historical fiction, the very books themselves seemed to fight tooth and nail for the accolade.

‘Eventually, Days Without End took the lead, for the glorious and unusual story; the seamlessly interwoven period research; and above all for the unfaltering power and authenticity of the narrative voice, a voice no reader is likely to forget. We commend all the authors of this year’s shortlist for their wonderful and important books. What a hard choice it was.  But we are delighted to declare Days Without End the winner of the eighth Walter Scott Prize for Historical Fiction  – and Sebastian Barry the first writer to win the Prize twice.’

You can download the Winner Press Release by clicking this link: Winner-press-release-final  – and you can find out more on our News page.


The 2017 Shortlist

The shortlist for the Walter Scott Prize for Historical Fiction 2017 was:

Jo Baker  A Country Road, A Tree  (Doubleday)

Sebastian Barry  Days Without End  (Faber)

Charlotte Hobson  The Vanishing Futurist  (Faber)

Hannah Kent  The Good People  (Picador Australia)

Francis Spufford  Golden Hill  (Faber)

Graham Swift  Mothering Sunday  (Scribner)

Rose Tremain  The Gustav Sonata (Chatto & Windus)

The Judges commented:

“We have a longer shortlist than usual due to the variety of the longlist, and the fresh perspectives and lively debate generated by the introduction of three new judges to the panel.

Our shortlist was achieved by the judges’ instinctive reaction to each book. The seven shortlisted novels, a mix of old hands and new voices, offer readers joy in the discovery of unusual subjects and times; appreciation of historical research and insight worn lightly and applied skilfully; and, perhaps most important of all, that visceral connection to the characters which is the prerequisite of every novel, whether historical or not.

These seven wonderful books encapsulate moments in history in truly unforgettable ways, making the 2017 Walter Scott prize shortlist one to savour. The second and final judges’ meeting looks set to be as lively as the first.”

Click here to upload the Shortlist press release 2017

For further information and to buy copies of the shortlisted books go to:


Timetable for the 2017 Prize

November 2016: Prize opened for entries from publishers

December 2016:  2017 judges and Academy announced

31st January 2017: Prize closed for entries

22nd February 2017: Longlist and ‘Academy Recommends’ lists announced

28th March 2017: Shortlist announced

17th June 2017: Baillie Gifford Borders Book Festival, Melrose – Winner of Walter Scott Prize 2017 announced and presented

Autumn 2017: 2018 Prize open for submissions, for books published during 2017.

To download the Prize Rules and Criteria for the 2017 prize, please click Rules 2017