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Wilbur Smith Adventure Writing Prize 2024 Shortlist Revealed

The Wilbur & Niso Smith Foundation have announced the Wilbur Smith Adventure Writing, Best Published Novel award, shortlist for 2024.

Hand-picked from over 100 entries, British, American, Australian, Georgian and Nigerian authors are represented on the six title shortlist. Submissions were open to writers of all nationalities, writing in English and the shortlisted books were selected by a team of librarians and library staff from across the UK.

The shortlist

The winner of the £10,000 Best Published Novel award will be revealed on Thursday 19th September at a private ceremony in London, UK. Also being celebrated will be the New Voices award for aspiring writers and the Author of Tomorrow award for writers aged 21 years and under who have completed a short piece of adventure writing.

The judges

The six shortlisted books will now progress to the judging panel, all experts in either the fields of literature or adventure. The panel comprises Matt Barr writer, journalist and host of the Looking Sideways Action Sports podcast; Lee Craigie, former professional mountain bike racer and director of The Adventure Syndicate; Dr Alasdair Harris, a marine conservationist and National Geographic Explorer; Sarah Outen, record-breaking athlete and therapist; and Emma Styles, author and winner of the 2023 Wilbur Smith Adventure Writing Prize.

When asked what the panel will be looking for in this year’s winner, Styles said:

‘I want to be hooked. I want to know what the quest is, what’s at stake for the characters. I want to feel I’m alongside them, know who they are and why I should care. I want to experience the setting with all my senses and most of all, I want the adventure between the characters to be as vivid as the physical journey. How do they help each other or get in one another’s way? How do they change each other? How will they have changed me when I get to the end of the book? I can’t wait to dive into these stories.

One seat on the judging panel is reserved for readers. The Reader’s Vote is open now, and will remain open until 31st July, and gives everyone three votes to award, whether they go all to one or to three different titles. Readers are encouraged to dive into the shortlist, to read, share and recommend, and decide where their votes are placed. The votes will be collated and awarded the equivalent weight to one seat on the panel, giving readers a voice in determining the winner.

Get Involved

This year, UK-based book clubs will also be invited to shadow the judging. Six book clubs will each receive copies of one shortlisted title, which they will be asked to read, discuss and provide feedback for. Participating clubs will have the opportunity to discuss the novel with the author, and their thoughts will be shared with the judges. Apply today.

If you work in a library or workplace and would like to promote the prize, you can download a free digital pack from our shop.

What do you think of the 2024 shortlisted titles? Which have you read and what will be added to your TBR pile? Add your comments below, or click any title above to leave a review.

Share your thoughts with us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram using #AdventureWritingPrize.

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