We are delighted to reveal the six authors shortlisted for the annual £10,000 Wilbur Smith Adventure Writing Prize, Best Published Novel award.

In alphabetical order, they are: 

Ayesha Harruna Attah THE DEEP BLUE BETWEEN (Pushkin Press)

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

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

Rachel Joyce MISS BENSON’S BEETLE (Doubleday)


James Swallow ROGUE (Bonnier Books UK)

Adventure stories have been told for as long as people have been telling stories and adventure readers come from all walks of life, ages and nationalities. We are delighted to see authors from New Zealand, Ghana and the UK represented on the shortlist.

‘An Adventure for Everyone’ encapsulates the spirit of the Prize, celebrating the books which both honour the traditions of adventure and do something new. Readers are encouraged to read, share and recommend these books. Posters are available to download here to share with your library, bookshop or in your living room window.

You can read more about the authors in their Q&As here

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

Most of 2020 was a challenging time for all of us, including booksellers and publishers around the world. This said, we at the Foundation have an utmost respect for the authors, publishers and agents in their continued drive to reach readers in new ways. We are fortunate to work with a team of dedicated and passionate librarians and library staff to help select the shortlist.

She continued:

These shortlisted novels are thrilling, sometimes witty, and will make you weep. There are so many emotions brilliantly put to paper in all these books that they are guaranteed to keep you up at night. Read one and it will present you with a fresh take on the world, read all six and the power of adventure will sweep you off your feet.

Throughout June and July, the Prize will run an online campaign including a public vote element, with the reader’s choice equating to one seat on the judging panel. Over the course of the campaign, we will host a series of online events which you will able to sign up for via our website, plus engagement opportunities for libraries and reading groups.

The winner of this year's Wilbur Smith Adventure Writing Prize will be revealed at a special online ceremony on 15th September 2021. In the meantime, keep up to date via our twitter @Wilbur_Niso_Fdn.