Craig Hillsley

Before turning freelance, Craig was Editorial Director at the award-winning independent publisher Saraband, where he edited a diverse collection of titles, including Graeme Macrae Burnet’s historical thriller His Bloody Project, shortlisted for the Booker Prize in 2016. Craig has recently edited Graeme’s fourth novel, Case Study, which is set in 1960s London and has been longlisted for the 2022 Booker Prize. Named as a Bookseller ‘Rising Star’, Craig has edited books that have won or been shortlisted for more than forty major literary awards, including the Rathbones Folio Prize, the Historical Writers’ Association Debut Crown, and the Society of Authors’ Awards.

Craig has a good knowledge of history and culture in Scotland, Scandinavia, and sub-Saharan Africa and is interested in social history in the medieval and early modern periods, especially anything relating to plague. He likes literary fiction, mysteries and thrillers (especially of the psychological variety, as well as domestic noir and relationship dramas), and political dramas.

If Craig were stranded on a desert island, the two historical novels he would want with him are Umberto Eco’s The Name of the Rose – the granddaddy of crime fiction in a historical setting, which paved the way for writers such as CJ Sansom and which has a twisting, complex plot, fabulous characters and is deeply atmospheric and William Boyd’s Waiting for Sunrise. He’d actually like to take all of William Boyd’s books, mainly because of the rich characters Boyd always creates, but this particular novel edges it with a glorious evocation of Vienna on the cusp of the First World War. And it’s got spies!

Historical fiction subgenre specialisms



Historical period specialisms

Medieval (500–1450)
Early modern (1450–1800)
Late modern (1800–1945)


“The structural report Craig provided for my novel was excellent – it contained great specifics on what works, what doesn’t, and why. Thank you!”

Syd Young

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