Winner of the 2023 Walter Scott Prize Is Revealed

Jul 11, 2023
Dimitris Passas

NOTE: This article is a republication- Source: Kirkus Reviews (by Michael Schaub).

Lucy Caldwell is the winner of this year’s Walter Scott Prize, the British award given annually to a work of historical fiction.

Caldwell took home the award for These Days, her novel about the Belfast Blitz, four German air raids that targeted the city in Northern Ireland during April and May of 1941. The novel was a hit with U.K. critics; at the Guardian, Joseph O’Connor called it “brilliantly shaped and organized.” These Days has not been published in the U.S.

The judges for the prize called Caldwell’s novel “a pitch-perfect, engrossing narrative ringing with emotional truth.”

“A story of both great violence and great tenderness, These Days ends at eleven minutes past eleven o’clock, carrying all the freight that number holds,” they said. “‘Have you lived a life that is true?’ Lucy Caldwell asks. For the 2023 Walter Scott Prize, it was a winning question.”

In her acceptance speech, Caldwell said, “This is the first historical novel that I’ve written, and it felt something very urgent and special, finding the stories of those who’d lived through the Blitz, and gathering them and weaving them together into something.”

The Walter Scott Prize, named after the Scottish author often called the founding father of the historical novel, was established in 2009. Previous winners include Andrea Levy for The Long Song, Tan Twan Eng for The Garden of Evening Mists, and Hilary Mantel for Wolf Halland The Mirror & the Light.

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