Allan Massie was the inadvertent cause of a Booker Prize bust-up when, in 1991, one of the judges, Nicholas Mosely, resigned in protest at the non-shortlisting of Massie’s The Sins of the Father.

Massie is a Scottish journalist and critic - he has been The Scotsman’s chief fiction reviewer for a quarter of a century - as well as a writer on cricket and rugby. As a novelist with a preference for traditional forms, he has written some 20 works of fiction, usually set in the past. Gore Vidal once described him as a ‘master of the long-ago historical novel’ and Massie believes that historical fiction will always have resonance because ‘human nature doesn’t change a great deal’. He has also written a study of Muriel Spark, as well as histories of Edinburgh and Glasgow.