Esi Edugyan and Patrick DeWitt just can’t seem to shake each other off.
The two authors, whose novels Half-Blood Blues and The Sisters Brothers were jointly nominated last year for the Giller Award, the Governor General’s Award for Fiction, the Writers’ Trust Fiction Prize and the Man Booker Prize, now find themselves competing for the £25,000 Walter Scott prize for historical fiction in the U.K.
The annual prize, created in 2010, goes to the best work of historical fiction of the year. The first two winners were Hilary Mantel for Wolf Hall and Andrea Levy for The Long Song.
The judges said deWitt's novel, about two brothers who are hired killers in the Old West, contained “really valuable historical detail as well as dark humour.”
They said Edugyan’s Half-Blood Blues, which follows the story of black jazz musicians in Nazi Germany, “illuminates a corner of history as yet unilluminated, with emotions that almost become characters in their own right.”
The other finalists for the award are Sebastian Barry for On Canaan's Side, Alan Hollinghurst for The Stranger's Child, Andrew Miller for Pure and Barry Unsworth for The Quality of Mercy.
The winner will be announced June 16.
For the record, Edugyan won the Giller Prize for Half-Blood Blues while deWitt took the Writers’ Trust Prize and the Governor-General’s Award for The Sisters Brothers. They both lost to Julian Barnes ( The Sense of an Ending) in the race for the Booker Prize.