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The Walter Scott Prize for Historical Fiction, founded in 2009 by its patrons the Duke and Duchess of Buccleuch, is the largest annual fiction prize to be judged outside London, and honours the legacy and achievements of Sir Walter Scott, founder of the historical novel. It awards novels set in the past – for the purposes of the prize, at least sixty years ago. Winner of the first Walter Scott Prize, Hilary Mantel, described its founding as ‘much the best thing that has happened for lovers of historical fiction.'
Sebastian Barry has won the eighth £25,000 Walter Scott Prize for Historical Fiction for his epic American novel Days Without End. Barry’s previous novel On Canaan’s Side was a winner in 2012, and he returned to the Borders Book Festival in Melrose, Scotland to receive his Prize from the Duke of Buccleuch on 17 June 2017.