The Wilbur Smith Adventure Writing Prize

 Full details 

The Wilbur Smith Adventure Writing Prize award for Best Unpublished Manuscript will be open for submissions 5th January - 7th March 2021

Best Unpublished Manuscript | Prize: Publishing deal with Bonnier Books UK*

What are we looking for? 

This is an adventure writing award. To be eligible your manuscript must fulfil our definition of adventure writing

As partner on the Best Unpublished Manuscript award, Bonnier Books UK have two representatives on the judging panel. When asked what they will be looking for, they responded: 

  • The novel must be commercially viable
  • We are looking for authentic authors and voices
  • We will be looking for a piece of narrative fiction that embodies the epic nature of adventure writing; sweeping, unputdownable, page-turning, exciting and transportive

Please consider this when deciding to submit your work. 

We accept both unpublished and self-published manuscripts within this category. Please read the guidelines fully before submitting your entry and ensure you enter your work for the correct award.

How do I enter?
When submissions are open, you can enter your manuscript via an online portal on this page. There is an entry fee (amount TBC) per submission.

Rules | Submission of entry is taken to be an unqualified acceptance of these rules:

  1. The competition is open to writers of any nationality writing in English.
  2. You may enter multiple works but each manuscript must be submitted separately and will be considered a separate entry
  3. Submissions must exceed 50,000 words in length. 75,000+ is ideal
  4. The author must not already have a novel published by a recognised trade publisher
  5. Self-published books are eligible
  6. The author must not be represented by a literary agent
  7. If you enter your manuscript in other competitions and you win, please notify us. If we believe there is a conflict of interest, we may ask you to withdraw your submission
  8. Entries must be submitted digitally, ideally as .doc or .docx. There must be no reference to the author's name of personal details in the manuscript. We operate a blind judging process.Please contact if you have any questions about file type.

We reserve the right:

  • to not award the first prize, where circumstances are beyond our control, or if the judges’ overall verdict is that the level of entries is not up to the required standard
  • to disqualify any entry if we have reasonable grounds to believe that the entrant has breached any of these rules. We cannot accept any responsibility for any damage, loss, injury or disappointment suffered by any entrant entering the competition
  • to amend these rules where it is deemed necessary to do so or where circumstances are beyond our control

We will act in accordance with current UK data protection legislation in relation to your personal data. All personal data entered is secure.

*the prize available is a world rights publishing deal with a writer's advance of £15,000 with Bonnier Books UK. We reserve the right not to award the prize in the unlikely circumstance that none of the submissions are felt to have the potential for successful publication after their period of development or delay the process should the winning manuscript need substantial work. If awarded, the writer must also agree to representation with The Bravo Blue Agency, in association with Tibor Jones.



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