Winston Graham Historical Fiction Prize
The Botanist’s Daughter by Kayte Nunn (Orion) has won the 2020 Winston Graham Historical Fiction Prize.
Launched in 2008 the prize is open to any published historical novel with a clear connection to the West Country.
The £3,000 prize was established with a generous legacy from Poldark author Winston Graham and is supported
by his family. The prize is administered by the Royal Institution of Cornwall (RIC).
Nunn’s book is set in the dangerous world of Victorian plant-hunters and centres around a long-buried secret that
could have deadly consequences. Judges, chaired by author and RIC trustee Philip Marsden, praised the book for
its ‘fine pacing, memorable characters and fascinating historical detail’. Marsden said: ‘Cornwall has a rich
tradition of historical fiction, weaving narratives around adventurous pursuits such as fishing, smuggling and
mining. Kayte Nunn has successfully used another of these – plant-hunting – for The Botanist’s Daughter. Many
congratulations to her’.
Also shortlisted were To Untie a Sealed Knot by S J Haxton (Boswell Book Publishing) and The Promise by Ruth
The Royal Institution of Cornwall runs the Royal Cornwall
Museum and the Courtney Library which are housed in a
grade II listed building in River Street, Truro.
The Botanist's Daughter by Kayte Nunn
Discovery. Desire. Deception. A wondrously imagined tale of two female botanists,
separated by more than a century, in a race to discover a life-saving flower . . .
In Victorian England, headstrong adventuress Elizabeth takes up her late father's
quest for a rare, miraculous plant. She faces a perilous sea voyage, unforeseen
dangers and treachery that threatens her entire family.
In present-day Australia, Anna finds a mysterious metal box containing a sketchbook
of dazzling watercolours, a photograph inscribed 'Spring 1886' and a small bag of
seeds. It sets her on a path far from her safe, carefully ordered life, and on a journey
that will force her to face her own demons.
In this spellbinding botanical odyssey of discovery, desire and deception, Kayte
Nunn has so exquisitely researched nineteenth-century Cornwall and Chile you can
almost smell the fragrance of the flowers, the touch of the flora on your fingertips . . .
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