After a year’s hiatus, the Best Published Novel award has returned with a 12-strong longlist. The Prize is open to writers of any nationality, writing in English, and this year we are recognising the best adventure fiction published between 1st May 2020 and 30th April 2021.

The following 12 authors all in the running for the £10,000 prize:

Ayesha Harruna Attah THE DEEP BLUE BETWEEN (Pushkin Press)

D.V. Bishop CITY OF VENGEANCE (Pan Macmillan)


Ali Bryan THE HILL (Dottir Press)

Niall Edworthy OTTO ECKHART’S ORDEAL (Universe, Unicorn Publishing)

David Gilman THE ENGLISHMAN (Head of Zeus)

Kim Hughes OPERATION CERTAIN DEATH (Simon & Schuster UK)

Rachel Joyce MISS BENSON’S BEETLE (Doubleday)

Lawrence Osborne THE GLASS KINGDOM (Hogarth)


James Swallow ROGUE (Bonnier Books UK)

Jess Walter THE COLD MILLIONS (Viking)

Congratulations to all the authors long listed for the award. 

Download a copy of the longlist poster to show your support and share in your library, bookshop, or in your living room window.

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Niso Smith, Founder of The Wilbur & Niso Smith Foundation, commented

‘Books are a lifeline for many people and have been more so than ever over the past year. While we have not been able to travel, to experience other places and cultures, to meet the people who make our world so colourful, we have relied on books to take us there. This longlist truly has an adventure for everyone.’ 

The Foundation encourages readers to select the one that appeals to them most, then read, share and recommend. 

The Prize received 127 entries from publishers and literary agents, by authors from across the world, including Australia, Canada, Ghana, Ireland, South Africa, India, New Zealand and the UK.

The longlist is selected by a panel of librarians and library staff, who looked for novels which both honour the traditions of the great adventure stories and are unafraid to try something new. 

Six titles will be selected by the same panel to progress to the shortlist, after which the novels progress to the 2021 judging panel. The Prize will also include a public vote over the summer with the reader’s choice equating to one seat on the judging panel. We look forward to hearing what you think! 

Shortlist Announced: 20th May 2021

Winner Announced: 8th September 2021