Historian and broadcaster Kate Williams presented the Historical Writers’ Association Crown Awards for 2018 at a party at Swedenborg Hall in Bloomsbury on 7 November, 2018. The winner of the Debut Crown for 2018 was Estoril by Dejan Tiago-Stankovic; the Non-fiction Crown was awarded to Leanda de Lisle for White King: Charles I – Traitor, Martyr, Murderer; and the winner of the Sharpe Books HWA Gold Crown for historical fiction was Ralf Rothmann’s To Die in Spring, superbly translated by Shaun Whiteside, who was present to receive the award on Rothmann’s behalf.
The winners of each prize receive one thousand pounds as well as the award itself. ‘Each winner was part of a very strong short and longlist,’ Chair of the HWA, Imogen Robertson, said, ‘which demonstrated the breadth and vigour of historical writing published in the UK in the last year. We are sure that all lovers of history will find something to delight them in these lists, from adventure, epic and literary fiction of the highest quality to important popular works of non-fiction which shed fresh light on familiar figures or carve out and claim important new territory all of their own.’
HWA/ Dorothy Dunnett short story competition winner
The evening also saw Canadian writer Jennifer Falkner, from Ottowa, carrying off first and second prize in the anonymously-judged HWA / Dorothy Dunnett short story competition for unpublished short stories.
A new prize for unpublished novels, in collaboration with Sharpe Books, was also announced.
HWA Debut Crown winner
The Debut Crown judges said of Estoril by Dejan Tiago-Stankovic: ‘Assured, surprising and complex, this poignant story of divided loyalties among the extraordinary residents of a hotel in neutral Portugal during the Second World War reads like a rediscovered classic.’
HWA Non-fiction Crown winner
The judges of the Non-fiction Crown called Leanda de Lisle’s White King: Charles I – Traitor, Martyr, Murderer ‘a quietly revolutionary biography of a man obscured by layers of myth, prejudice and misunderstanding,’ and added: ‘drawing on new sources, and interrogating familiar material in a new way, de Lisle emphasises Charles’s humanity, his weaknesses and his strengths, while restoring the women in his life to centre stage.’
HWA Sharpe Books Gold Crown winner
The judges of the Sharpe Books Gold Crown said To Die in Spring by Ralf Rothmann, translated by Shaun Whiteside, was ‘beautifully written, affecting and intensely readable – a powerful novel that works on many levels.’ On a separate note, the judges praised the translation as being one of the best they had read.
The HWA would like to thank our sponsors, Sharpe Books and The History Press, for making the evening such a success. Particular thanks to our judges, who gave up a great deal of their time reading and debating the huge number of submissions with such generosity and enthusiasm. The Non-fiction Crown judges were: M J Carter, Saul David, Jason Goodwin and Lucy Santos; the Debut Crown was judged by Ayo Onatade and Susan Heads, chaired by Ben Fergusson; and the Sharpe Books HWA Gold Crown was judged by Rukhsana Ahmad, Elizabeth Buchan, Robin Carter, Richard Foreman, Tony Riches and Imogen Robertson and chaired by Elizabeth Fremantle.