Wednesday, May 10, 2023

Historical fiction award news: Pulitzer, Langum Prize, the Anthonys, and Walter Scott Prizes

There's quite a bit of news to report about historical novels which recently won or are finalists for literary prizes.

Most prominently: the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction was shared (for the first time) by two novels, Trust by Hernan Diaz and Demon Copperhead by Barbara Kingsolver.  Trust counts as historical fiction; set in the world of corporate finance in early 20th-century NYC, the story unfolds through four different accounts, and each gets progressively closer to the truth. Read my review here.

Also announced this week was the Langum Prize in American Historical Fiction, which went to Mercury Pictures Presents by Anthony Marra. As the press release notes, it "explores an unusual and carefully researched perspective into World War 2. Split between Hollywood and an Italian prison camp, the novel follows several interconnected lives at the point when America is just about to enter the war and shortly after." The finalist was The Magic Kingdom by Russell Banks, which I reviewed earlier this year.  

The shortlist for the 2023 Walter Scott Prize was released in early April, and contains the following:

These Days, Lucy Caldwell, about the Belfast Blitz
The Geometer Lobachevsky, Adrian Duncan 
Act of Oblivion, Robert Harris 
The Chosen, Elizabeth Lowry 
The Sun Walks Down, Fiona McFarlane 
Ancestry, Simon Mawer
I Am Not Your Eve, Devika Ponnambalam 

See more about all of them on the Goodreads list for the Walter Scott Prize (there's a section further down that page for nominees).

The Harris, McFarlane, and Mawer novels have US editions. For US residents interested in obtaining any of the others (or other British or Aus/NZ titles for that matter), since Book Depository is sadly defunct, Blackwell's also offers free international shipping, as does Fishpond

The winner will be announced in mid-June.

And the Anthony Award finalists for Best Historical (these have a mystery/crime focus) include:

The Lindbergh Nanny, Mariah Fredericks
Danger on the Atlantic, Erica Ruth Neubauer
In Place of Fear, Catriona McPherson
Under a Veiled Moon, Karen Odden
Anywhere You Run, Wanda M. Morris
Lavender House, Lev A.C. Rosen

See more at the Bouchercon website. Other historicals made the finals for other prizes, including Harini Nagendra's The Bangalore Detectives Club, which is up for Best First Novel.


  1. Mystica Varathapalan7:55 PM

    Thank you for such a comprehensive post with all the relevant links

  2. Anonymous4:34 PM

    The Duchess of Buccleuch sadly died recently. She co-founded the prize with her husband.

    Sarah MN Librarian