South Scotland

Walter Scott Prize launches search for favourite historical novel

Walter Scott Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption The Walter Scott Prize is given out at the Borders Book Festival in Melrose

A search has been launched to find readers' favourite historical novel of all time.

It is part of celebrations of the 10th anniversary of the Walter Scott Prize for fiction in the Borders.

The public is being asked to nominate their favourite novel written in English and set at least 60 years before first publication.

The 10 books receiving the most nominations will then go forward to a poll in early December.

A winner will be announced in January.

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Image caption The first Walter Scott Prize was won by Hilary Mantel

The Walter Scott Prize was founded in 2009 and is awarded every year at the Borders Book Festival in Melrose.

A number of authors have credited it with helping to improve the profile of the genre.

Inaugural winner Hilary Mantel said: "Historical fiction is flourishing and increasingly writers see it as the arena to display their talents, and a genre that takes us into unexplored areas of human experience.

"I feel the prize has paid a great part in raising the prestige of fiction set in the past, and because it has opened the field of possibility, all writers working today have cause to be grateful."

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Image caption The prize has been won twice by Sebastian Barry

Robert Harris, winner of the 2014 prize, said he was "immensely honoured" that his work An Officer and a Spy was among the winners.

"It seems to me that the prize itself has not only boosted and bolstered the historical novel, but it has begun to define it," added twice winner Sebastian Barry.

The Walter Scott Prize was conceived and founded in 2009 by the Duke and Duchess of Buccleuch and the director of the Borders Book Festival, Alistair Moffat.

"This year marks the 200th anniversary of the publication of Ivanhoe, the most widely read and known of all Sir Walter's novels and, as we celebrate the 10th anniversary of the prize with panache, we will think back on our local genius who set it all in motion," the duke said.

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