Have you ever wondered how the long and shortlists are decided for a book prize? We are seeking volunteers reviewers interested in reading some of the latest adventure novels to join the listing panel for the 2020 Wilbur Smith Adventure Writing Prize. We are inviting ten librarians to make up the review panel.


  • You must be a librarian by trade or work in a library. We welcome interest from librarians working in all libraries, including schools, universities, public libraries, private libraries etc. If you fit the bill but have recently retired, we would also be interested to hear from you
  • You must be UK-based (we can offer a £60 honorarium or up to £60 to cover travel expenses for a roundtable in London)

What is involved?

We will supply you with digital copies of up to x15 books which have been entered for the 2020 Best Published Novel category of the Wilbur Smith Adventure Writing Prize over the course of February. These books will all be fiction, published between 1st May 2019 and 30th April 2020 and fit our definition of adventure writing.

We will supply you with guidelines on how to review the novels you are allocated and can send them directly to a kindle if this is the easiest way for you to read them. Each novel will be read by multiple reviewers. The numbers will be dependent on how many novels are submitted.

You must be available on Friday 24th April to attend a roundtable discussion led by the Foundation in London, exact venue TBC. We anticipate this will be 11am-4pm and lunch will be provided. 

You must come prepared to discuss, advocate and vote for those at the top of your reading list – it will be a friendly atmosphere and a chance to meet others with similar interests. These discussions will lead to finalising the long and shortlists for the 2019 Best Published Novel award, worth £15,000 for the winning author. 

We take the security of these novels seriously. Each novel has been entrusted to the Prize and each file will be secured to ensure the author’s work is protected.

What is in it for you?

For those with an interest in the genre and a desire to keep up-to-date with new publications, this is a chance to explore some of the best new adventure fiction today. You will meet likeminded people and enjoy a new experience while demystifying the behind-the scenes workings of an influential book prize.

This role is voluntary. You will receive either a £60 One4All voucher (redeemable with over 130 high street brands) for your participation or travel expenses up to the same value.

Express your interest: 

We will be selecting up to 12 reviewers. To express your interest, please email Georgina Brown, Foundation Manager at submissions@wilbur-niso-smithfoundation.org, telling us in under 200 words:

  • why you would like to be part of the review panel
  • a little about your experience as a librarian 

We are seeking reviewers from diverse backgrounds, to bring a range of opinions to the process. Please also supply as much of the following information as you are comfortable with, alongside your expression of interest:

  • Where you work/worked as a librarian
  • How long you have been a librarian
  • Date of birth
  • Gender
  • Nationality
  • Education level

Deadline for expressions of interest: Thursday 17th January

You will be notified if you have been selected to be part of the panel on Friday 24th January.