Wilbur and Niso look back at 2016

2016 was an incredible year for us. Sitting here in beautiful Cape Town, we have been thinking about all that has been made possible by creating The Wilbur and Niso Smith Foundation. Our mission is to empower writers, promote literacy and advance the adventure writing genre – all aspirations close to our hearts. We’d like to share with you a snapshot of our first year.

Our first donation was to The FunDza Literacy Trust, here in South Africa. With our support they provided age-appropriate books for teens in two township libraries in the poorest areas of greater Cape Town – Nyanga and Langa. We strengthened our relationships with two inspirational women. Firstly, Lulama Langeni of Harare Library, Khayelitsha, who does amazing work bringing valuable resources to her community. We were amazed by what she can do with limited resources and she was proud to show us their popular shelf of Wilbur Smith books! Secondly, Kate Silverton, a brilliant friend and news broadcaster who we were delighted to welcome to our Board of Trustees.

In May, we hosted the inaugural Wilbur Smith Adventure Writing Prize, in partnership with Worldreader and again, The FunDza Literacy Trust. With over 100 submissions from 20 different countries, it was an honour and a challenge to create our final shortlists of 14 authors – our youngest was only 14 years old. Once again, our congratulations go to US author Corban Addison, South African Kirsten Miller, and British Alice Sargent as winners of the Published novel, Unpublished manuscript, and Author of Tomorrow awards respectively.

Our publishers across the world have been passionate about the Foundation and we were delighted to receive a number of generous donations towards our work. We continue to work with writers, currently supporting both Corban and Kirsten as they undertake exciting research for new novels. Keep an eye on our website, facebook and twitter in the coming months for updates on their adventures all over the world.

The latter half of the year saw exciting plans for growth taking form at Foundation HQ, in London. The 2017 Wilbur Smith Adventure Writing Prize is open, we’re looking for new organisations and partners to work with us in achieving our mission, and we’re excited to see what else this year may have in store for us. We hope that you will join us on this great adventure!

- Wilbur and Niso Smith