We are delighted to announce that The Long Take by Robin Robertson has won the tenth Walter Scott Prize for Historical Fiction, becoming both the first Scot and the first poet to win the prize.
Accepting his Prize from writer Alexander McCall Smith and the Prize’s sponsor the Duke of Buccleuch at the Baillie Gifford Borders Book Festival on Saturday 15thJune, Robin Robertson said that, like Walter Scott, he had started as a poet and then moved into narrative fiction ‘by accident’, as The Long Take started as a poem but became something longer.
The Judges said:
“It’s ten years since the spectacular inauguration of the Walter Scott Prize, with Hilary Mantel’s Wolf Hall our first winner. The Prize was founded both to acknowledge the part historical fiction plays in our literary landscape, and to broaden and deepen the meaning of the term ‘historical fiction’ itself. Since then, many of the finest writers in English have explored historical themes in increasingly original ways, making the task of choosing a winner ever more difficult.
“It seems right that in our tenth anniversary year we should celebrate this originality by awarding the prize to a novel written in compelling narrative verse.The prize is always hard-fought and this year was no exception, but this novel exerted a very particular magnetic force, drawing us back again and again, each time marvelling anew.
“The Long Take recounts the inner journey of Canadian veteran Walker as he travels from New York to Los Angeles and San Francisco attempting to rebuild his life after living through the horrors of war in Europe. In poetry of the utmost beauty, Robin Robertson interweaves themes from the great age of black and white films, the destruction of communities as cities destroy the old to build the new, the horrors of McCarthyism and the terrible psychological wounds left by war.
“Robertson shows us things we’d rather not see and asks us to face things we’d rather not face. But with the pulsing narrative drive of classic film noir, the vision of a poet, and the craft of a novelist, The Long Take courageously and magnificently boosts the Walter Scott Prize into its next decade.”
For more information, please see here.
Agent for Robin Robertson: Peter Straus