Irish novelists Sebastian Barry and Audrey Magee feature on the long-list for this year’s Walter Scott Prize for historical fiction.

The15 longlisted titles are as follows: The Zone of Interest by Martin Amis; The Temporary Gentleman by Sebastian Barry; The Miniaturist by Jessie Burton; The Lie by Helen Dunmore; Viper Wine by Hermione Eyre; In the Wolf’s Mouth by Adam Foulds; Mr Mac and Me by Esther Freud; Arctic Summer by Damon Galgut; Wake by Anna Hope; The Wake by Paul Kingsnorth; The Undertaking by Audrey Magee; A God in Every Stone by Kamila Shamsie; The Architect’s Apprentice by Elif Shafak; The Ten Thousand Things by John Spurling; The Paying Guests by Sarah Waters.

In The Undertaking, an ordinary German soldier Peter Faber is desperate to escape the Eastern front. He weds Katharina Spinell, a woman he has never met, in a marriage of convenience that promises 'honeymoon' leave for him and a pension for her should he die on the front.  With ten days' leave secured, Peter visits his new wife in Berlin. Both are surprised by the attraction that develops between them, but their marriage is not without its challenges.  

Last year, Audrey Magee was nominated for the Baileys Women's Prize for Fiction - formerly the Orange Prize - for The Undertaking.

The Temporary Gentleman is Sebastian Barry's third novel to feature the McNulty family history. The novel opens in 1957 with Jack McNulty, ex-army major, languishing in Africa unable to face returning home to Sligo, because of guilt. He writes down memories of his dead wife, and a  marriage which his father-in-law disapparoved of because of Jack's drink problem.

The winner of the Walter Scott Prize will be announced in June at the Borders Book Festival at Melrose in the Scottish Borders.