Have you ever wondered how the long and shortlists are decided for a book prize? We are seeking 17 volunteer librarians interested in reading some of the latest adventure novels to join the review panel for the 2023 Wilbur Smith Adventure Writing Prize. 


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.

What is involved?

We will supply you with digital copies of novels entered for the 2023 Best Published Novel category of the Wilbur Smith Adventure Writing Prize for review between February and April. These books will all be fiction, published between May 1st 2022 and April 30th 2023, and fit our definition of adventure writing.

Each novel will be read by multiple reviewers. The exact numbers will be dependent on how many novels are submitted, but you will be assigned no more than fifteen titles. 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.

We will host a group training session on Zoom, sharing our guided review process so you know what to look for in the novels you are allocated. You must be available for this hour-long training session on either Tuesday 31st January at 1pm or Wednesday 1st February at 7pm. 

We will host a roundtable discussion led by the Foundation in London on Friday 28th April (TBC). We anticipate this will be 11am-4pm and lunch will be provided. We can offer a £60 honorarium or up to £60 to cover travel expenses.

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 2023 Best Published Novel award, worth £10,000 to the winning author. Previous winners include Where Blood Runs Cold by Giles Kristian (2022), Miss Benson's Beetle by Rachel Joyce (2021), Firefly by Henry Porter (2019), and A Necessary Evil by Abir Mukherjee (2018).

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 like-minded people and enjoy a new experience while demystifying the behind-the-scenes workings of an international book prize.

This role is voluntary. You will receive either a £60 voucher of your choosing (book tokens, Amazon, Marks & Spencer etc.) for your participation or travel expenses up to the same value.

Express your interest: 

We will be selecting up to seventeen reviewers. To express your interest, please email Charlotte Maddox, Prize Manager at charlotte@wilbur-niso-smithfoundation.org, telling us in under 200 words why you would like to be part of the review panel and a little about your experience as a librarian or working in a library.

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: 9am, Thursday 19th January 2023. 

You will be notified if you have been selected to be part of the panel before the end of the working day on Tuesday 24th January.