At last, the winners of the HWA Crown Awards for 2020 are announced! After months of reading and making tough decisions, the judges have chosen the winners of the HWA Gold, Non-fiction and Debut Crown Awards out of a very strong submissions list.
HWA Chair Imogen Robertson says: “We’re so sorry we aren’t able to present these awards in person this year, but of course we still want to celebrate the great historical writing being published in the UK and urge all fans of history to immerse themselves in the amazing books which made it to our shortlists.
“Enormous thanks to our judges for all their passion and hard work.”
The HWA Gold Crown
The Year Without Summer: Guinevere Glasfurd (Two Roads Books)
Whiskey When We’re Dry: John Larison (No Exit Press)
The Darker Arts: Oscar de Muriel (Orion)
The Bastille Spy: C. S. Quinn (Corvus)
The King’s Evil: Andrew Taylor (HarperCollins)
The Hiding Game: Naomi Wood (Picador)
The King’s Evil by Andrew Taylor
“The shortlist provides a snapshot of wide array and richness of the submissions and of historical fiction today. Never before has it been so important for historical fiction to hold a mirror up to our past to reflect our present day lives and provide a guide for our future. It’s also important to give our readers escapism – a chance to leave our cares and worries behind and get embroiled in adventure, exhilarating plot twists and colourful characters we can root for and sob over. Our shortlisted six represent this wonderfully,” says Jason Hewitt.
“The winner, The King’s Evil by Andrew Taylor, is rich in period detail, has great characters and we all unanimously loved it. Andrew Taylor gives you the genuine feeling of being transported back in time to the royal court of King Charles II where murder is afoot. With its rich and exuberant writing and wonderfully realised setting, The King’s Evil is a thrilling, immersive ride.”
Judges: Kate Atherton, Robin Carter, LP Fergusson, Jean Fullerton, Jean Goodhind, Jason Hewitt (Chair), Frances Owen, Gill Paul.
The HWA Non-Fiction Crown
Big Sister, Little Sister, Red Sister: Jung Chang (Jonathan Cape)
The Anarchy: William Dalrymple (Bloomsbury)
The Scoundrel Harry Larkyns and his Pitiless Killing by the Photographer Edward Muybridge: Rebecca Gowers (W&N)
A Fistful of Shells: Toby Green (Penguin)
Burning Down the Haus: Tim Mohr (Little, Brown)
The Regency Revolution: Robert Morrison (Atlantic Books)
A Fistful of Shells by Toby Green
“This was an incredibly strong year and we’re very proud of the diverse and fascinating shortlist.
“A Fistful of Shells by Toby Green is a landmark achievement – an engrossing book with incredible archival research and very readably written which changed our view of West Africa,” says Alex von Tunzelmann.
Judges: Yasmin Khan, Keith Lowe, Timothy Phillips, Alex von Tunzelmann (Chair)
The HWA Debut Crown
The Book of Echoes: Rosanna Amaka (Doubleday)
The Confessions of Frannie Langton: Sara Collins (Penguin)
The Lost Ones: Anita Frank (HQ)
The Animals at Lockwood Manor: Jane Healey (Mantle)
The Doll Factory: Elizabeth Macneal (Picador)
American Spy: Lauren Wilkinson (Dialogue Books)
The Animals at Lockwood Manor by Jane Healey
“It was a delight to read so many diverse books this year. I would urge you to read all the books – they show the future of historical fiction is in good hands,” says Ayo Onatade.
“The winner, The Animals at Lockwood Manor by Jane Healey, is an atmospheric gothic story set at the start of World War II that embraces tales of family madness, long-buried secrets spoken and unspoken and hidden desires all set in a manor housing the Natural History Museum’s collection of mammals.”
Judges: Susan Heads, Ayo Onatade (Chair), Simon Savidge.
HWA Chair Imogen Robertson adds: “We’d like to thank the publishers, the booksellers, the bloggers and the readers for getting these stories out into the world and sharing them as widely as possible. It’s been a magnificent year for historical writing, I’m sure next year will be magnificent too, and hopefully next year we’ll be able to celebrate these writers and books together in person.”
Congratulations to the winners and their publishers!
Historia will be featuring guest reports and interviews covering the awards by Publishing and Journalism students from Bath Spa University.