Wilbur Smith 2019 prize shortlist unveiled

News - Prizes Wednesday, 15 May 2019

Six in the race for £15,000 Wilbur Smith Adventure Writing Prize

The Wilbur & Niso Smith Foundation has this morning released the shortlist for the annual Wilbur Smith Adventure Writing Prize for Best Published Novel, which 'seeks to support and celebrate adventure in all its forms.'

The six-strong shortlist is as follows:

JD Fennell, Sleeper: The Red Storm (Dome Press)
Zeyn Joukhadar, The Map of Salt and Stars (Weidenfeld & Nicolson/Orion)
Henry Porter, Firefly (Quercus)
Craig Russell, The Devil Aspect (Constable/Little, Brown)
Jock Serong, Preservation (Text Publishing)
Holly Watts, To the Lions (Raven Books)

Niso Smith, founder of The Wilbur & Niso Smith Foundation which runs the prize, said: "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 has tied up withThe Reading Agency and, as part of this partnership, each author on the shortlist and the Prize’s judging panel has 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, said: "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 23 May, with a discussion on the nature of adventure in fiction with authors J.D. Fennell, Henry Porter, Craig Russell and Holly Watt.

The winner of the £15,000 Best Published Novel announced at a ceremony on 12 September at Stationers’ Hall.

The 2019 judges are: 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 for Wilbur Smith at Tibor Jones & Associates; Sue Wilkinson, ceo of The Reading Agency; and Levison Wood, professional writer, explorer and photographer.

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