The Wilbur & Niso Smith Foundation has announced the shortlist for the Wilbur Smith Adventure Writing Prize award for Best Unpublished Manuscript in partnership with Bonnier Books UK.
However the foundation's main £15,000 award for published work — won in 2019 by Henry Porter's Firefly (Quercus) — is on hold for 2020, owing to the impact of Covid-19.
Shortlisted for their unpublished work are Jacob P Avila for Cave Diver (Brisbane, Australia); Dan Cross for The Lionness and the Flame (Paignton, UK/Bogota, Colombia); Tony Durrant for Veldt Hunter (Sedbergh, Cumbria, UK); Gail Kirkpatrick for Sleepers and Ties (Vancouver Island, Canada); Jack Rees for The Secret City of the Sun (North Augusta, South Carolina, US); and Joe Totten for The Law of Capture (Midway, Utah, US).
Each of the shortlisted authors will be offered one-to-one support to develop their manuscripts with literary consultant David Llewelyn and the winner will receive a publishing deal with Bonnier.
Llewelyn said: “It is a very strong shortlist. The six authors’ works encompass such a wide range of subject matter, within the broad genre of ‘adventure’ novels; a straightforward conspiracy, a Western epic, a Canadian odyssey, a medieval historical saga, a Boer War conflict drama, and a Victorian adventurer/spy novel set in Peru. I am always heartened by the creative spirit which seems to underlie this particular genre which allows free rein to an author's imagination."
Previous winners of the award have secured publication including The Hum of the Sun by South African writer Kirsten Miller, now published by Kwela Books; Blood in the Dust by Australian Bill Swiggs, published by Zaffre; and 2019 winner What We Did at the End by Cecily Blench, whose manuscript which has also joined the list at Bonnier Books UK. The winner of the 2020 award will be announced on 9th September.