We are thrilled to reveal the six-strong shortlist for the 2019 Wilbur Smith Adventure Writing Prize, Best Published Novel.

J. D. Fennell SLEEPER: THE RED STORM (The Dome Press)

Zeyn Joukhadar THE MAP OF SALT AND STARS (Weidenfeld & Nicolson/Orion)

Henry Porter FIREFLY (Quercus)

Craig Russell THE DEVIL ASPECT (Constable/Little, Brown)

Jock Serong PRESERVATION (Text Publishing)

Holly Watt TO THE LIONS (Raven Books)

The Prize seeks to support and celebrate adventure in all its form. We are delighted to see authors on the shortlist representing the US, the UK and Australia and have two debuts recognised alongside well-established authors. The winner of the £15,000 award will be selected by our expert panel of judges and awarded at a ceremony on 12th September 2019, at London’s Stationers’ Hall.

Niso Smith, Founder of The Wilbur & Niso Smith Foundation, says:

“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, to make the Best Published Novel award as much about readers as it about the writers.

As part of this partnership, each author on the shortlist and the Prize’s judging panel have been invited to work with the Foundation to support a new generation of young people to become readers. Working in further education colleges across the UK, as part of the Reading Ahead programme, the partnership will provide a stepping stone for many young people to continue their reading journeys through adventure.

Fraser Hutchinson, Head of Publisher Partnerships at The Reading Agency, says:

“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 2019, with a discussion on the nature of adventure in fiction. We will be joined by authors J.D. Fennell, Henry Porter, Craig Russell and Holly Watt. Join us! Tickets are £4 and available to the public here