The current judges for the Walter Scott Prize for Historical Fiction are:
Alistair Moffat is a historian, writer, journalist and founder and director of the Borders Book Festival in Melrose. Born in Kelso, Scotland, he took degrees at St Andrew’s, Edinburgh and London universities. He is a former Director of the Edinburgh Festival Fringe and Director of Programmes at Scottish Television. His books include The Sea Kingdoms, The Scots: A Genetic Journey, The Borders, and Tuscany: A History. He has recently launched Britain’s DNA, and is Co-Chairman of The Great Tapestry of Scotland and a Director of Book Nation. He founded the Walter Scott Prize for Historical Fiction with the Duke and Duchess of Buccleuch and has been Chair of Judges since its inception in 2009.
Elizabeth Laird is an award-winning children’s author. Born in New Zealand to Scottish parents, she has travelled extensively and written about diverse countries and cultures. In between her travels in Ethiopia, Malaysia and India, Liz lived for some time in Lebanon, Iraq and Austria with her husband and two sons. After leaving Austria she and her husband decided to earn their living as writers, settling in London: since then, she has written over 30 books for children, has been shortlisted five times for the CILIP Carnegie Medal as well as every other major children’s book award. Liz and her husband now split their time between London and Edinburgh. Elizabeth Laird’s books have been translated into 15 languages. She joined the Walter Scott Prize judging panel in 2011.
Elizabeth, Duchess of Buccleuch and Queensberry
Elizabeth Buccleuch’s family, the Kerrs, are part of the history of the Scottish Borders where she grew up. Educated at the London School of Economics, with a BSc in Sociology, she worked for a number of years for the BBC, for Radio 4 in London, and after her marriage in 1981, for her local radio station in Dumfriesshire. She has been extensively involved in cultural organisations as a former Chairman of Scottish Ballet, a Trustee of the National Museums Scotland and a Trustee of the British Museum. Her mother, the Marchioness of Lothian, was a writer and broadcaster, founded the Woman of the Year Lunch, and was the inspiration for the Biographer’s Club Tony Lothian Prize for debut biography. The Duchess is currently writing a memoir of her mother. She was co-founder of the Walter Scott Prize for Historical Fiction and has been a Judge since its inception in 2009.
Kirsty Wark is one of Britain’s most experienced television journalists. She has presented a wide range of programmes – from the ground breaking Late Show and The Review Show to Election specials, live stadium events, and, since 1993, the BBC’s flagship nightly current affairs show Newsnight. Kirsty has won several major awards for her work including BAFTAs for Outstanding Contribution, Journalist of the Year and Best Television Presenter. She reached the final in Celebrity Masterchef in 2011 and hosted the culinary quiz A Question of Taste for BBC2. She is currently making documentary programmes for the BBC. In 2014 Kirsty published her debut novel, The Legacy of Elizabeth Pringle. She was born in Dumfries and educated in Kilmarnock. She is married to Alan Clements and has two children. Kirsty joined the Judging panel for the Walter Scott Prize in 2012.
Jonathan Tweedie is Head of the Edinburgh Office of Brewin Dolphin, one of the UK’s largest independently-owned private client wealth managers, and headline sponsor of the Borders Book Festival. Jonathan joined Brewin Dolphin in 2001, having spent the previous nine years as an officer in the British Army, where he reached the rank of Major. He became a Divisional Director in 2006 and was appointed Head of the Edinburgh Office in 2014. He has a BA Hons in Business & Economics and is a trustee for the Scottish Veteran Residences and the KOSB Regimental Association. Jonathan is a voracious reader and has been on the judging panel for the Walter Scott Prize for Historical Fiction, part of the Brewin Dolphin Borders Book Festival, since 2012.
Louise Richardson is Principal and Vice-Chancellor of the University of St Andrews. A native of Ireland, she received a BA and MA in History from Trinity College, Dublin and an MA and PhD in Government from Harvard University, where she then became Executive Dean of the Radcliffe Institute and was professor of Government for twelve years. A political scientist by training, Professor Richardson has specialised in international security with an emphasis on terrorist movements, and has written and lectured prolifically on this subject. Louise became a Judge for the Walter Scott Prize in 2012.