Apr 4, 2023
The Geometer Lobachevsky is shortlisted for the Walter Scott Prize for Historical Fiction
Adrian Duncan’s The Geometer Lobachevsky, published by Tuskar Rock (an imprint of Profile Books, and in Ireland as a co-edition with the Lilliput Press) has been shortlisted for the Walter Scott Prize for Historical Fiction
Adrian, a structural engineer by training, has made the cut with a "quiet gem", The Geometer Lobachevsky .The judges commented: "To say that Adrian Duncan’s The Geometer Lobachevsky is the story of a man surveying an Irish bog is akin to relegating Leonardo’s Last Supper to 13 men having dinner. Like the bog Lobachevsky is surveying, the unassuming surface conceals ‘a subterranean ocean on a gusty day’."
Each of the authors on the shortlist, which also includes Lucy Caldwell, Robert Harris, Elizabeth Lowry, Fiona McFarlane, Simon Mawer and Devika Ponnambalam, will receive £1,500.
First awarded in 2010 to Hilary Mantel’s Wolf Hall and sponsored by the Duke and Duchess of Buccleuch, the prize honours Sir Walter Scott, the inventor of the historical fiction genre and Buccleuch kinsman. The judging panel comprises chair Katie Grant, Elizabeth Buccleuch, James Holloway, Elizabeth Laird, James Naughtie, Kirsty Wark and, for 2023, Saira Shah.
The judges said of the shortlist: "Cat and mouse with 17th-century regicides. Love in the Belfast blitz. The death of Emma Hardy. A lost boy (and so much else) in southern Australia. A Soviet exile in Ireland. A dig into personal ancestry. The voice of a voiceless muse. Seven very different stories with very different approaches have reached the shortlist for this year’s Walter Scott Prize for Historical Fiction.
"And as with the best historical novels, each book offers the reader more than the story. This year we explore martyrdom, self-knowledge, remorse, exile, art’s human price, complex relationships under an unsettling sun and the impossibility of knowing exactly who we are.
"As required by the prize criteria, all the novels on our 2023 shortlist are set 60 years or more in the past, but how vividly they speak to the present. We hope you’ll read, enjoy and watch out for the winner."
Previous winners include Sebastian Barry, Andrea Levy, Tan Twan Eng and Robert Harris.
This year’s winner will be announced at an event at the Borders Book Festival on Thursday 15th June 2023, which also honours the winners of the prize’s counterpart for young writers, the Young Walter Scott Prize.