What is adventure writing?

What are the essential ingredients of a great adventure story? An impossible quest? Action? Romance? Insurmountable odds? A pacey plot? Danger?

A great adventure story often contains all these elements and many more besides, but the most important thing in any adventure story is the feeling of being on an epic journey. We have travelled with Sean Courtney across southern Africa during the gold rush and the Boer War. We have explored Egypt’s treasures with Taita. We have combed the Indian Ocean for Cayla Bannock with Hector Cross. A great adventure story is a journey so compelling that we have no choice but to get on board.

We expect a true adventure story, and all entries to the Wilbur Smith Adventure Writing Prize, to:

  • Take the reader on an epic journey, exploring new horizons – be they historical or geographical
  • Explore the themes of courage, endurance and resourcefulness
  • Allow readers to connect with a different reality or culture
  • Keep a reader turning the pages from the very start to finish not only due to the story, but also the excellent writing