Henry Porter wins Wilbur Smith Adventure Writing Prize 2019

Large henry porter jacket and headshot

The Wilbur & Niso Smith Foundation has announced that the winner of the 2019 Wilbur Smith Adventure Writing Prize, Best Published Novel category, is Henry Porter for Firefly (Quercus).

After months of reading and deliberation judges Alex Crawford, Kirsty Coventry, Abir Mukherjee, Kevin Conroy Scott, Sue Wilkinson and Levison Wood chose the winner from a 6 strong shortlist from across the globe, consisting of two debuts alongside well-established authors.

Niso Smith, founder, said:

‘We were delighted by the captivating stories submitted this year for the published prize. After much deliberation the judges chose Firefly for its thrilling story, its pace, its breathtaking cinematic quality, and its scope and ambition. Whilst adventure writing can offer absolute escapism and sheer entertainment, it can also remind us of important current political and economic issues. Henry has written a mesmerizing and important book, brilliantly researched, which illuminates the refugee crisis spreading from Africa and the Middle East across Europe. It is a vital story for our times.’

Niso formally announced Porter as the winner at the Wilbur Smith Adventure Writing Prize Award Ceremony at Stationers’ Hall on Thursday 12th September. She presented him with a cheque for £15,000.

The evening was hosted by Kate Silverton and Keith Chapman, both Patrons of charity The Wilbur & Niso Smith Foundation who administer the Prize.

The annual Prize has three distinct categories to find, support and celebrate the best aspiring and established adventure writers today. It is open to writers of any nationality, writing in English. Across the categories, the Prize received almost 900 submissions from more than 37 countries, underscoring the popularity of adventure as a genre.

The Reading Agency and the Wilbur & Niso Smith Foundation

The Reading Agency has been working with the Wilbur & Niso Smith Foundation to make the adventure writing prize as much about readers as it is about the writers. We have created reader’s guides for each of the shortlisted titles and resources to introduce adventure writing to students at further education and sixth form colleges. Two of the shortlisted writers, J D Fennell and Holly Watt, and two judges, Abir Mukherjee and Levison Wood, will each be visiting a college in October.

Get involved

Have you read Firefly? If not, you can find it in your local library or buy it from Hive.
See the shortlist and longlist for more adventure 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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