Details of the Prize are in a downloadable pdf file at the foot of the page.




HWA Debut Crown for new Historical Fiction

WINNER 2014: SHE RISES by Kate Worsley

A literary award for debut historical fiction awarded by the Historical Writers’ Association

Worth £2,000, the HWA Debut Crown for new Historical Fiction will be awarded to the what is, in the judges’ estimation, the best debut historical novel first published in the United Kingdom in the year in question.  

The current year features books which were published between 1st October 2012 and 30th September 2013.

This year's shortlist was announced at the HWA AGM on 4th June 2014 at the Society of Authors

The Winner was announced on 23rd October 2014 at the Harrogate History Festival.  The Shortlisted authors took part in the Festival's 'New Blood' panel held on the 24th of October.

The 2014 shortlist is as follows:

She Rises - Kate Worsley 
Child of Vengeance - David Kirk
Secrets of the Sea House - Elisabeth Gifford
A Capital Union - Victoria Hendry
Petite Mort - Beatrice Hitchmann

The £2,000 HWA Debut Crown is organised and awarded part of our remit as an Association to promote and sustain historical writing.   Members are committed to the excellence of crime writing, both fiction and non-fiction and this is the first of what will be a suite of prizes to encourage new and established writers whose books cover a period over thirty five years from the date of publication.

Historical novels now regularly lead the bestseller lists and the aim of this prize in particular, is to highlight the wealth of new fiction authors whose novels fit into this genre. The judges on the panel for the new prize will be Maria Rejt, Manda Scott, David Headley, and Ayo Onatade.



The HWA Crown for Debut Fiction (HDC) will be awarded at Harrogate History Festival - in 2014, the award will be made on Thursday 23rd October, followed by a "New Blood" panel on Friday 24th which will host as many of the shortlist as are able to come.  The Shortlist each year will be announced at the HWA AGM: in 2014, on 4th June. 

This award is for the best historical novel by a first-time fictional author of any nationality first published in the UK in English during the Judging Period. ‘Best historical novel by a first time author’ means that the author must not have had a novel of any sort published before under any name whatsoever. In the case of novels with more than one author, all the authors must meet this requirement.

Authors may have written non-fiction works prior to the publication of the submitted novel.
Further detail and prize rules may be found by emailing our prize administrator: Lucy Santos, on

Full rules are available to download in the file at the foot of the page

 For further information, logos and interviews with the judges please contact:

Lucy Santos:



KATE ATHERTON  is a well-established book blogger based in Oxford. Her background is in archaeology, publishing and education. She has co-authored and reviewed non-fiction professionally but these days she enjoys nothing more than writing about what she loves most to read: historical fiction and science fiction.

ALEX CLARKE Publishing Director of Penguin Books.  

ROBERT LOW Has been a journalist and writer since the age of 17.  He has covered conflicts in Vietnam, Sarajevo, ALbania and Kosovo.  He's a Viking re-enactor and author of the outstanding Oathsworn series of Viking novels, and the exceptional 'Kingdom' series set in the time of Robert the Bruce and William Wallace. He is a founding committee member of the HWA.

ANDREW TAYLOR  Three time winner of the CWA's HIstorical Dagger, Andrew Taylor’s novels blend crime with historical fiction.  They include the bestseller, The American Boy; the Roth Trilogy (filmed for TV as Fallen Angel); the Lydmouth Series; Bleeding Heart Square; and The Anatomy of Ghosts. His most recent awards are the CWA Diamond Dagger and Sweden’s Martin Beck Award.  He also reviews for the Spectator and the Independent.

DAPHNE WRIGHT (aka NATASHA COOPER) Former CWA Chair, Daphne Wright progressed from a successful publishing career to a career as a highly regarded novelist, broadcaster and reviewer.  She is author of the Trish Maguire series of detective novels and reviews for the Times, TLS and Toronto Globe and Mail.

MANDA SCOTT Novelist, columnist and screenwriter, Manda Scott's first novel was shortlisted for the Orange Prize and her fourth was nominated for an Edgar Award. She is author of the international bestselling Boudica series and Rome series.  She is founder and Chair of the Historical Writers' Association.

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