Michael Ondaatje's Warlight shortlisted for 2019 Walter Scott Prize for historical fiction

The Walter Scott Prize awards a grand prize of £25,000 to a work of historical fiction.
Michael Ondaatje is the celebrated author of works such as The English Patient and In the Skin of a Lion. (McClelland & Stewart)

The novel Warlight by Michael Ondaatje has been shortlisted for the 2019 Walter Scott Prize, an annual £25,000 ($43,917 Cdn) award given to the previous year's best work of historical fiction published in English.

Ondaatje's novel is set in the aftermath of the Second World War and follows two young siblings who have been abandoned by their parents and left in the care of a peculiar, enigmatic man called Moth. The Walter Scott Prize jury said the book is the Canadian writer's best since The English Patient.

"It never lets the reader go and will stay in memory," the judges said in a press release.

Ondaatje's fellow nominees include award-winning Australian novelist Peter Carey, who is shortlisted for the novel A Long Way Home and Scottish writer Robin Robertson, who is on the list for his Man Booker Prize-nominated book The Long Take.

Three English novelists round out the shortlist: Cressida Connolly for After The Party, Samantha Harvey for The Western Wind and Andrew Miller for Now We Shall Be Entirely Free.

The winner will be announced on June 15, 2019 and will be selected by judges Alistair Moffat, Elizabeth Buccleuch, Katharine Grant, James Holloway, Elizabeth Laird, James Naughtie and Kristy Wark.

The 2018 winner was The Gallows Pole by Benjamin Myers.