read during lockdown

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Need something to read during lockdown? Here’s a great place to start

Too much Netflix? Maybe it’s time to try one of these great works of historical fiction that have been shortlisted for the Walter Scott Prize.

read during lockdown

Image via Adobe Stock

If you’re having difficulty spending every free moment of time you’re afforded at home during lockdown planted on the couch watching Netflix, perhaps it’s time to break up the habit a bit by opening a good book. 

The judges of the Walter Scott Prize for Historical Fiction have announced a six-book shortlist of some of the world’s best new books that might assist to transport you back a few years to when corona was nothing more than a delicious drink to enjoy with lime. 

Oh, it’s… only been a month?

Here are the six shortlisted titles: 

  • THE NARROW LAND by Christine Dwyer Hickey (Atlantic)
  • THE PARISIAN by Isabella Hammad (Jonathan Cape)
  • TO CALAIS, IN ORDINARY TIME by James Meek (Canongate)
  • SHADOWPLAY by Joseph O’Connor (Harvill Secker)
  • THE REDEEMED by Tim Pears (Bloomsbury)
  • A SIN OF OMISSION by Marguerite Poland (Penguin South Africa)

Time for an escape

The Walter Scott Prize celebrates quality of writing in the English language, and is open to novels published in the previous year in the UK, Ireland or the Commonwealth.

The judges said that the historical fiction genre was perfectly suited to help take your mind off some of the grim realities the world is facing at the moment.

 “In times of crisis, historical fiction is both reassurance (nothing is completely new) – and escape, so it’s with almost medicinal pleasure that we unveil the eleventh Walter Scott Prize shortlist which offers, we hope, a measure of both. Set aside your anxieties and smell greasepaint with Bram Stoker.”

“Share Leo Sercombe’s incredulity as the German fleet scuttles at Scapa Flow. Lament, for Stephen Mzamane, the injustices in the nineteenth century Anglican church. With Thomas, Will and the Lady Bernadine, delight in a fourteenth century linguistic tour-de-force. 

“Linger inside the minds of the artist Edward Hopper and his wife. And savour a glorious twentieth century epic of the Middle East written with such sparkling immediacy you’re more witness than reader. Six books from writers as varied as they are talented. Six books to absorb. Six books to fortify. Enjoy them all!”

The judges of the 2020 Prize, which is valued at £25 000, are Katie Grant (chair), Elizabeth Buccleuch, James Holloway, Elizabeth Laird, James Naughtie and Kirsty Wark.