The Wilbur Smith Adventure Prize shortlist has been revealed with indies The Dome Press and Text Publishing both bagging 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.
Sleeper: The Red Storm by J D Fennell (The Dome Press) is up against Zeyn Joukhadar's The Map of Salt and Stars (Weidenfeld & Nicolson/Orion) and The Firefly by Henry Porter (Quercus) with The Devil Aspect by Craig Russell (Constable/Little, Brown), Jock Serong's Preservation (Text Publishing) and Holly Watt's To The Lions (Raven Books) completing the shortlist.
Niso Smith, founder of The Wilbur & Niso Smith Foundation which administers the annual 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 is partnering with national charity, The Reading Agency, with each shortlisted author and the judging panel invited to work with the foundation to support a new generation of young people to become readers.
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 23rd May, with a discussion on the nature of adventure in fiction with authors J D Fennell, Henry Porter, Craig Russell and Holly Watt. Tickets are £4 and available to the public and available here.
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 prize will be awarded at a ceremony on 12th September, at London’s Stationers’ Hall.