Out Of Africa: Two African Authors Longlisted For 2024 Wilbur Smith Adventure Writing Prize

The longlist for this year’s edition of the Wilbur Smith Adventure Writing Prize has been announced …

Two books published by African authors are up for consideration.

The twelve-strong longlist, selected by a panel of librarians and library staff from across the UK, includes works by British, Australian, American, Canadian, Georgian, Indian, Nigerian and South Korean authors. Five of the titles are debut works.

The African books are Blessings by Nigerian writer Chukwuebuka Ibeh, and Shigidi and The Brass Head of Obalufon by Nigerian writer Wole Talabi.

Chukwuebuka Ibeh was born in Port Harcourt, Nigeria. His writing has appeared in McSweeneys Quarterly Review, The New England Review of Books, Dappled Things, and Lolwe. He was Runner-up for the 2021 J.F Powers Prize for Fiction, a finalist for the 2019 Gerald Kraak Award and 2020 Morland Foundation Scholarship and was profiled as one of the “Most Promising New Voices of Nigerian Fiction” in Electric Literature. His debut novel, Blessings, is a coming-of-age story about a queer teenage boy who has to navigate a hostile society while striving to live his truth.

Wole Talabi is a Nigerian speculative fiction writer, editor and engineer. His fiction has appeared in speculative fiction magazines and anthologies globally and has been translated into 3 languages. He has been shortlisted for several awards including the Caine Prize for African Writing and the Nommo Award, and has won the latter twice – in 2018 (for “The Regression Test”) and 2020 (for “Incompleteness Theories”). His fantasy novel, Shigidi and the Brass Head of Obalufon, features a disgruntled god and a succubus who team up for a heist across two worlds.

The Wilbur Smith Adventure Writing Prize, first awarded in 2016, is an international prize that supports and celebrates “the best adventure writing today.” The prize is named after South African novelist Wilbur Smith and is open to writers of any nationality, writing in English. Awards are presented in three categories: Best Published Novel, New Voices, and Author of Tomorrow. This year, the judging panel features Matt Barr, Lee Craigie, Alasdair Harris, Sarah Outen and Emma Styles.

The prize is powered by the Wilbur and Niso Smith Foundation, a charitable organisation dedicated to empowering young writers, the advancement of the adventure writing genre and the promotion of literacy. Previous winners include Emma Styles, Giles Kristian, Rachel Joyce and Henry Porter.

The prize for the Award is £10,000, and the Foundation defines adventure writing as “a story that conveys the feeling of being on an epic journey.”

The shortlist for the 2024 Best Published Novel award will be announced on Thursday 30th May, and the winning Work will be announced at the Foundation’s Award Ceremony on Thursday 19th September.

Visit the Foundation’s official website to read more about their work and the awards.


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