Rachel Joyce has won the £10,000 Wilbur Smith Adventure Writing Prize for her “joyously humourous” novel Miss Benson’s Beetle (Doubleday).
Her book was selected in the Best Published Novel category by judges Jon Coates, Dwayne Fields and Pip Stewart, along with a reader’s vote equating to one seat on the judging panel. The prize is run by the Wilbur & Niso Smith Foundation.
Niso Smith, founder, said: "The novels competing this year have been a beacon in challenging times, all of them portraying human strength. Miss Benson’s Beetle is a joyously humourous and deeply moving novel, which serves as a vital reminder that it’s always possible to make your life what you want it to be. Rachel’s yarn is truly magical and a life-affirming adventure. Congratulations!"
The annual prize has three distinct categories designed 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 40 countries worldwide.
Five writers of unpublished manuscripts have been awarded a £1,000 bursary of bespoke editorial support from one of Wilbur Smith’s editors. The shortlisted authors hail from Australia, India and the UK and will be supported through their journey by the foundation.
Kate Parkin, m.d. for adult trade publishing at Bonnier Books UK, said: “Our partnership with the prize intends to support aspiring novelists. After much discussion, we’re delighted to be able to help these five brilliant writers develop their manuscripts further. We can see the potential in each of their works and are delighted to support them in honing their craft.”
In addition, winners of the Author of Tomorrow competition, run in partnershop with global literacy charity Worldreader, were announced. The contest is open to writers aged 21 and under who have completed a short adventure story. The 11 and under category was won by Aaron Din for “Burning”; “The Fisherman” by Heather Chapman picked up the 12-15 years award; while "The Paths We Tread Together" by Charis Odoki picked up the 16-21 prize.