Penney wins £10k Wilbur Smith adventure writing prize

Penney wins £10k Wilbur Smith adventure writing prize

Under a Pole Star (Quercus) by Costa-winning author Stef Penney has been awarded the £10,000 2017 Wilbur and Niso Smith Adventure Writing Prize for Best Published Novel.

Penney's “compelling” epic love story is set in the Arctic in the 19th century and tells the story of a woman who defied expectations of the time by becoming a polar explorer.

Prize judge Corban Addison commented: "Stef truly evoked both the time and place that she was describing, created a compelling story that kept me coming back, that transported me to a place that I had never seen or really even spent much time thinking about, and gave me characters that I really did fall in love with.”

The prize was one of four awarded to the best adventure writing of the past year on Thursday night (7th September), in the company of over 100 guests at London’s Royal Geographical Society.

The £5,000 adventure research award for Best Unpublished Manuscript, which includes guidance from literary agents Tibor Jones & Associates, went to Holliday by US author Matthew Di Paoli.

For authors under the age of 21 years, the £1,000 Author of Tomorrow award, in partnership with World Reader, was won by Malaysian author Wilbur Bryant Dublin for The Safe-House Café. A £1,000 special commendation was awarded to Frederick Morgan for Sir Hop.

The 2017 prizes were awarded under the guidance of judges Steve Winter, National Geographic photographer; Alex Crawford, special correspondent at Sky News; Kevin Conroy Scott, Wilbur Smith’s agent at Tibor Jones & Associates; and author Corban Addison, winner of the 2016 Wilbur Smith Adventure Writing Prize.