Page last updated at 12:22 GMT, Wednesday, 27 January 2010

Historic fiction award honours Sir Walter Scott

Sir Walter Scott
The prize recognises Scott's contribution to historical fiction

The UK's biggest prize for historical fiction is being launched in honour of Sir Walter Scott.

The award, worth £25,000 to the winner, is open to historical novels first published in the UK in 2009.

It will be presented during the 2010 Borders Book Festival, held in Melrose between 17 and 20 June.

The prize money makes it one of the richest book awards in the UK. The award is being sponsored by the Duke and Duchess of Buccleuch.

Organisers said they hoped it would recognise Scott's "immense achievements" as "one of the world's most influential novelists".

Historic home

He has been described as the founding father of the historical novel.

The judges on the panel for the new prize will be Elizabeth Buccleuch, Elizabeth Laird, Allan Massie, David Robinson and Gavin Wallace.

Lady of the Lake
The Lady of the Lake (1810)
Waverley (1814)
Rob Roy (1817)
The Heart of Midlothian (1818)
Ivanhoe (1819)

The award will be presented at Abbotsford House, the historic home of Sir Walter Scott in the Scottish Borders.

Fund-raising is currently under way to safeguard and restore the home and its collections.

It is hoped a new visitor centre can be completed by 2012.

The Duke of Buccleuch, a patron of the Abbotsford Trust, said the prize and the works on Scott's home could combine to benefit south east Scotland.

"I see the new award and the restoration of Scott's house and reputation as being closely linked," he said.

"I believe that Scott as a figure of international renown offers a huge and hitherto untapped potential for the economic and cultural life of the Borders."

EventScotland is backing the awards through its marketing of the Borders Book Festival.

Chief operating officer Paul Bush said: "The Walter Scott Prize will be an exciting addition to the Borders Book Festival and will recognise the work of authors writing in one of the most popular literary genres."

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