The longlist for the 2019 Wilbur Smith Adventure Writing Prize is here. After a lot of reading and some challenging but enjoyable conversations, we are delighted to reveal the 12-strong longlist as: 

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

Adrian Goldsworthy THE ENCIRCLING SEA (Head of Zeus)

Paul Howarth ONLY KILLERS AND THIEVES (Pushkin Press)

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

David Leadbeater THE RELIC HUNTERS (Thomas & Mercer)

Henry Porter FIREFLY (Quercus)

A. G. Riddle WINTER WORLD (Head of Zeus)

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

Michael Rutger THE ANOMALY (Bonnier Books UK)

Jock Serong PRESERVATION (Text Publishing)

Taylor Stevens LIARS’ PARADOX (Kensington Publishing)

Holly Watt TO THE LIONS (Raven Books)

This year we are celebrating the best adventure novels published between 1st May 2018 and 30th April 2019, with entries that were open to writers of any nationality, writing in English.

We received submissions by authors from across the world including the USA, Australia, Nigeria, South Africa, Canada, New Zealand and many more.

We were thrilled to work with a group of experienced library professionals to select the titles for the longlist. Lauren LaTulip, chartered librarian and founder of Bluestocking Books UK, was part of the panel responsible for reviewing the submissions. 

Lauren told us:

“I found reading the books for the long list to be eye-opening - from Viking Iceland to World War Two to modern day Jordan, the books kept me turning pages, sometimes late into the night. I was impressed by the range of books, from adventures with sci-fi overtones to exciting and moving stories of refugees' travel.
The quality of the books I read was high. Discussing the books with the selection group was an enjoyable experience, with a fair bit of laughter as well as impassioned speeches! I have high hopes for the future of adventure writing and expect to see the winner of the prize a best-seller in the future.”

From the longlist, a number of books will now be selected for shortlist and, under guidance from an expert judging panel, the £15,000 first prize for Best Published Novel will be awarded at a ceremony in on 12th September 2019, at London’s Stationers’ Hall. 

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

“It is vital that a prize for adventure fiction exists and Wilbur and I are proud to be the ones to lead on this front. Over the last four years we have seen entries for this particular award increase dramatically and received almost 100 submissions this year. It is thrilling to see this growth and we find it especially satisfying to see more authors and publishers recognising their books as adventure stories at heart.”

We have some key dates for your diary if you want to keep up to date in the world of adventure writing: 

Shortlist for Best Published Novel: 15th May 2019

Celebration of the shortlist: 23rd May 2019

We will be hosting this celebratory event at Stanfords, Covent Garden and would love you to join us. Why not buy your ticket now? 

Have you read any of these novels? Tell us what you think on twitter @Wilbur_Niso_Fdn or why not go a get a copy from your local library or bookshop?