Awards Fiction United Kingdom

Paterson Joseph on Walter Scott Prize for Historical Fiction 2023 longlist.

Paterson Joseph’s The Secret Diaries of Charles Ignatius Sancho is on the Walter Scott Prize for Historical Fiction 2023 longlist announced today, February 14, 2023.

The Walter Scott Prize for historical fiction is a British literary award created by the Duke and Duchess of Buccleuch, whose ancestors were closely linked to Scottish author Sir Walter Scott, generally considered the originator of historical fiction with the novel Waverley in 1814. Founded in 2010 and worth £25,000, is open to novels published in the previous year in the UK, Ireland, or the Commonwealth.

The judging panel for 2023 comprises Katie Grant (chair), Elizabeth Buccleuch, James Holloway, Elizabeth Laird, James Naughtie, Kirsty Wark, and the new judge for 2023, award-winning investigative journalist, writer, and documentary maker Saira Shah.

The longlist for the award has been announced with the chair of the Judges saying, ‘This year’s submissions to the Walter Scott Prize offered, as ever, many hours of globe-trotting, centuries-spanning pleasure, and our longlist is reflective of the breadth of literary talent, research, and imagination displayed by many fine entries. Our longlist also reflects the development of historical fiction from a relatively straightforward depiction of times past to something more complex and ambitious.’

Only one writer of African descent makes the cut this year and it is;

  • The Secret Diaries of Charles Ignatius Sancho, Paterson Joseph (Dialogue Books)

The book has the following premise;

The dark streets of 1746 London are no place for a black man and, after the relative safety of daytime hustle and bustle ceases, Sancho – an escaped slave – is alone.  All the more so because the Duke who has taught him to read, and whom Sancho had hoped would help protect him, is dying.  The debut from actor Paterson Joseph recounts the extraordinary story of how a man’s life can begin as one thing and draw to its close all-too-soon as something very different indeed.  Sancho’s life’s journey is one that takes him from a birth into slavery all the way to the very centre of London life, meeting the King, playing and writing highly acclaimed music, being the first black person in Britain to vote, and leading the fight to abolish slavery.

Paterson Joseph tweeted on the honour, However long this list is, I’m proud as punch to be on it. Thanks, Mr Scott?”

When Joseph is not writing novels, he is an actor who has appeared on stage, on TV, and in cinema.

By James Murua

This blog is run by James Murua a Nairobi, Kenya based lover of books.

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