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Christine Dwyer Hickey wins Walter Scott historical fiction prize

15th June 2020

Atlantic author Christine Dwyer Hickey has won the £25,000 Walter Scott Prize for historical fiction.

Her novel The Narrow Land, in which she explores the marriage of the artists Edward and Jo Hopper, was described by judges as “a masterpiece”.

The winner was announced on BBC Radio 4’s Front Row programme. It is hoped that a special event can be held at Scott’s Borders home Abbotsford later in the year. The book festival has been moved online and will begin next month.

In a joint statement, judges said Ms Hickey had “quietly, inexorably and with pinpoint perception” brought the Hoppers’ story to life.

“With the pull of a shifting sea, The Narrow Land drew the judges back again and again, each reading richer than the one before,” it said.

Christine said:

“Writing a novel takes a big chunk of one’s life – The Narrow Land was six years in the making – which is why I really, really appreciate this recognition.

“I would like to send my thoughts to a grave in a hillside cemetery in Nyack, overlooking the Hudson river, a few miles from New York City, where the artists Edward and Jo Hopper lie, and where I hope they have at last found peace.

I also hope they will forgive me the intrusion.”

The Narrow Land saw off works by Joseph O’Connor, Isabella Hammad, James Meek, Tim Pears, and Marguerite Poland to secure the top spot.