Obviously we are very sorry we could not announce the winners of the Debut, Gold and Non-Fiction Crowns in person this year, but you can still join us to see which of these amazing books have emerged victorious on youtube.
The 36 books chosen for the HWA Crowns Longlists have been announced!
Read all the details here: http://www.historiamag.com/hwa-crowns-longlists-2020/
Congratulations to all the fabulous writers and publishers and huge, huge thanks to all our judges.
The longlists for the Crown Awards will be announced on 12th September.
Catch up on the latest on our Awards page.
We are delighted to share the shortlists and winners of the 2019 Crowns, with thanks to all our judges, and our sponsor Sharpe Books.
Historian and Broadcaster Kate Williams presented the Historical Writers’ Association Crown Awards for 2018 at a party at Swedenborg Hall in Bloomsbury. 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 Rothman’s To Die in Spring, superbly translated by Shaun Whiteside who was present to receive the award on Rothman’s behalf.
The winners of each prize receives a 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.’
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Ottowa, carrying off first and second prize in the anonymously judged HWA / Dorothy Dunnett short story competition for unpublished short stories and the announcement of a new prize for unpublished novels in collaboration with Sharpe Books.
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.’
The judges of the Non-fiction crown called Leanda de Lisle: 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.’
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 and 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, chaired by Elizabeth Fremantle.
HWA Debut Crown Shortlist 2018
The Optickal Illusion by Rachel Halliburton
Populated by a cast of celebrated eighteenth-century painters jockeying for fame and fortune, this delightful tale of high art and low fraud is a celebration of the alchemy of painting and the dangers of unbridled ambition.
The Sealwoman’s Gift by Sally Magnusson
In this remarkable family saga, Ásta’s journey from Iceland to Algiers and back again turns her — and our — understanding of the seventeenth-century world upside down. It is a tale that is sometimes humorous, often terrifying, but always deeply humane.
The Lightkeeper’s Daughters by Jean E. Pendziwol
A moving inter-generational story of a family living on the Great Lakes. The narrative back-and-forth from the present to the past is beautifully controlled and the revelation of the secrets at the heart of the novel perfectly timed.
The Woolgrower’s Companion by Joy Rhoades
The harsh landscape, racial tension and overt sexism of war-time Australia is wonderfully evoked in this absorbing story of a woman trying to save her sprawling sheep farm in the face of greed, small-town pettiness and family tragedy.
The Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle by Stuart Turton
Beginning with a man waking up confused and frightened in an Agatha-Christie-esque house party where everyone seems to know his name, this feverish whodunnit is a uniquely gripping and mind-bending read.
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 Shortlist 2018
White King: Charles I – Traitor, Martyr, Murderer by Leanda de Lisle is a quietly revolutionary biography of a man obscured by layers of myth, prejudice and misunderstanding. 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.
The Fear and the Freedom: How the Second World War Changed Us by Keith Lowe
A brilliant exploration of the impact – geopolitical, social, economic, philosophical and psychological – that World War Two has had on the modern world. Told through a series of personal stories that are emblematical of a broader theme, Lowe’s book is a masterpiece of historical inquiry: painstakingly researched, cleverly constructed and elegantly written.
Pie and Mash Down the Roman Road by Melanie McGrath Dodging all the cliches, McGrath does a remarkable job of excavating the lives of the owners, employees and customers of G. Kelly’s Pie and Mash Shop, to produce a fresh and constantly surprising portrait of working-class life in the East End over a century, from 1917 to 2017. A triumph of acute, empathetic but unsentimental observation, her crisp prose throws light on uncelebrated lives with thrilling forensic detail.
A History of Rome in Seven Sackings by Matthew Kneale
With a combination of enormous verve and admirable scholarship novelist Matthew Kneale alights on seven crux moments in Rome’s 2500-year history, and through them tells a terrific story of destruction, resilience and transformation, while drawing a series of vivid and seductive portraits—social, political, cultural, architectural, even olefactory— of the city over time. Popular history at its absolute best.
The Debatable Land: The Lost World Between Scotland and England by Graham Robb
Part investigation, part travel book and part personal quest this book is a remarkable tale of a piece of land on the border between Scotland and England. Graham Robb’s book is a treat for the general reader and historical scholar alike.
Six Minutes in May: How Churchill Unexpectedly Became Prime Minister by Nicholas Shakespeare: revisits the disastrous Norway campaign of 1940, our first engagement with Hitler’s war machine, to ask how the architect of the debacle nonetheless emerged as Britain’s wartime Prime Minister. As the action moves back from the frozen north to London political circles, Shakespeare draws on his novelistic background to provide gripping studies of the main protagonists, Halifax, Chamberlain and Churchill.
HWA Sharpe Books Gold Crown Shortlist 2018
Blood’s Game by Angus Donald
A gripping page-turner, full of Restoration swagger, with an intriguing hero and brilliant action. Compulsively readable.
Sugar Money by Jane Harris
A novel with fantastic energy and verve – a bold and ambitious book that is both a vivid recreation of a neglected period of history and a gripping adventure story in the tradition of Robert Louis Stevenson. Powerful narration, atmospheric and immersive.
The Valentine House by Emma Henderson
A subtle, soulful, beautifully written period drama with an irresistible central character. A compelling, humorous, powerful and rewarding read.
To Die in Spring Ralf Rothmann trans by Shaun Whiteside
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 Last Hour by Harry Sidebottom
An energetic and gripping thriller, a great shot of adrenaline, and hugely entertaining. Does something fresh and appealing with the genre.
The Zoo by Christopher Wilson
Highly original, this fascinating novel swings from satire to horror to tragedy. Bittersweet, vital and commendably different.