Indies make up half of this year's Wilbur Smith Adventure Prize longlist, with Head of Zeus bagging two nominations for the £15,000 prize.
Celebrating the best adventure novels published between 1st May 2018 and 30th April 2019, the prize is open to writers of any nationality, writing in English.
Head of Zeus titles The Encircling Sea by Adrian Goldsworthy and Winter World by A G Riddle made the 12-strong longlist alongside Sleeper: The Red Storm by J D Fennell (The Dome Press) and Paul Howarth's Only Killers and Thieves (Pushkin Press).
Jennifer Zeynab Joukhadar's The Map of Salt and Stars (Weidenfeld & Nicolson/Orion) also made the list alongside Amazon Publishing's crime and thriller imprint, Thomas & Mercer, with The Relic Hunters by David Leadbeater.
Firefly by Henry Porter (Quercus), The Devil Aspect by Craig Russell (Constable/Little, Brown) and The Anomaly by Michael Rutger (Bonnier Books) were recognised alongside indie publisher Text Publishing with Jock Serong's Preservation and Liars' Paradox by Taylor Stevens (Kensington Publishing) with Holly Watt's To The Lions (Raven Books) completing the longlist.
Now in its fourth year, the Wilbur Smith Adventure Writing Prize received almost 100 submissions this year with entries from the US, Australia, Nigeria, South Africa and New Zealand.
Lauren LaTulip, chartered librarian and founder of Bluestocking Books UK, was part of the panel responsible for reviewing the submissions. When asked about the process, Lauren told us: “I found reading the books for the long list to be eye-opening - from Viking Iceland to World War Two to modern day Jordan, the books kept me turning pages, sometimes late into the night. I was impressed by the range of books, from adventures with sci-fi overtones to exciting and moving stories of refugees' travel.”
She continued, “The quality of the books I read was high. Discussing the books with the selection group was an enjoyable experience, with a fair bit of laughter as well as impassioned speeches! I have high hopes for the future of adventure writing and expect to see the winner of the prize a best-seller in the future.”
Sky news special correspondent Alex Crawford, Zimbabwean cabinet minister Kirsty Coventry, 2018 winner Abir Mukherjee, literary agent Kevin Conroy Scott, The Reading Agency c.e.o. Sue Wilkinson and explorer and writer Levison Wood make up the 2019 judging panel.
The shortlist will be revealed on 15th May and the prize will be awarded at a ceremony in on 12th September 2019, at London’s Stationers’ Hall.