Shortlist for the 2019 Wilbur Smith Adventure Writing Prize Announced

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The Wilbur & Niso Smith Foundation has announced the shortlist for the annual Wilbur Smith Adventure Writing Prize, for Best Published Novel. The six-strong shortlist is as follows:

The Prize seeks to support and celebrate adventure in all its forms. Authors on the shortlist represent the US, the UK and Australia and there are two debuts recognised alongside well-established authors.

Niso Smith, Founder of The Wilbur & Niso Smith Foundation which administers the annual Prize, says:

“This is a shortlist of heroes. The protagonists in these six novels inspired us with their courage, determination to pursue the truth, and stamina for survival in harsh surroundings. Each of these stories gave us what an adventure does in real life – a chance to learn about ourselves and the world, while getting the adrenaline pumping. All we can say is go and read these unique and wonderful books, we couldn’t put them down.”

Now in its fourth year, the Prize is partnering with us at The Reading Agency to make the Best Published Novel award as much about readers as it about the writers.

As part of this partnership, each author on the shortlist and the Prize’s judging panel have been invited to work with the Foundation to support a new generation of young people to become readers. Working in further education colleges across the UK, as part of The Reading Agency’s Reading Ahead programme, the partnership will provide a stepping stone for many young people to continue their reading journeys through adventure.

Fraser Hutchinson, Head of Publisher Partnerships at The Reading Agency, says:

“We’re delighted to be partnering with the Wilbur Smith Adventure Writing Prize. By their very nature, an adventure story should be a book you cannot put down; they are the perfect way to introduce non-readers into the world of books, which is very much at the heart of everything we do at The Reading Agency.”

The shortlist will be celebrated at Stanfords, Covent Garden, on 23rd May 2019, with a discussion on the nature of adventure in fiction. We will be joined by authors Henry Porter, Craig Russell and Holly Watt.

Tickets are £4 and available to the public.

The winner of the £15,000 Best Published Novel award will be selected by an expert panel of judges and awarded at a ceremony on 12th September 2019, at London’s Stationers’ Hall.

The judges

The 2019 judging panel for the shortlist comprises Alex Crawford, Special Correspondent at Sky News; Kirsty Coventry, Zimbabwean Olympian and Minister for Youth, Sports, Art and Recreation in the Zimbabwe cabinet; Abir Mukherjee, author and winner of the 2018 Wilbur Smith Adventure Writing Prize; Kevin Conroy Scott, Literary Agent of Wilbur Smith at Tibor Jones & Associates; Sue Wilkinson, CEO of The Reading Agency, the UK’s leading charity for reading; and Levison Wood, professional writer, explorer and photographer.

Get involved

What do you think of the shortlisted titles? Which have you read and do you think there are any books missing? Add your comments below, or click any title above to leave a review, find it in your local library, or buy it from Hive to support The Reading Agency and your local independent bookshop.
Did you see the longlisted books, announced on 2 May? Take a look for more reading inspiration.

Share your thoughts with us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram using #adventurewriting and @Wilbur_Niso_Fdn. Keep up with all the latest news, and find out about the 2019 partners, on the Wilbur & Niso Smith Foundation website.
Find out more about books by Wilbur Smith.

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