Amanda Smyth shortlisted for 2022 Walter Scott Prize

We are pleased to announce that Fortune by Amanda Smyth has been shortlisted for the 2022 Walter Scott Prize.

The judges said, ‘1920s oil-rush Trinidad, with “black puddles … pooling at the foot of a tree; swirling on the skin of the Godineau river … running free like honey”. And just like a bee, along comes Eddie Wade, a man in search of a fortune and on whom fortune bestows and withdraws her bounties. Fortune’s narrative spark is the Dome fire of 1928 when an exploding gusher killed seventeen people, but like all top-class historical novelists, Amanda Smyth creates a past in which nothing is certain. A masterclass in narrative tension, in economy – every detail earns its place – and in the miraculous power of a writer to transport, Fortune is a cracking story told by a cracking story-teller.’

On being shortlisted, Amanda said, ‘I am absolutely thrilled to be on the shortlist, especially after seeing such a strong longlist. My first novel was also historical fiction, but I had never before now considered myself to be a historical novelist.’

The shortlist

The full 2022 shortlist is as follows:

  • Rose Nicolson, Andrew Greig (Riverrun)
  • News of the Dead, James Robertson (Hamish Hamilton)
  • Fortune, Amanda Smyth (Peepal Tree Press)
  • The Magician, Colm Tóibín  (Viking)

The Prize

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 the Duke and Duchess of Buccleuch, the Prize has celebrated quality, innovation and ambition of writing for 12 years. It 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 2009, 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 £1,500.

The Judging panel is chaired by Katie Grant, and comprises Elizabeth Buccleuch, James Holloway, Elizabeth Laird, James Naughtie and Kirsty Wark.

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