List Headline Image
Updated by georgina-1 on Jan 04, 2018
Headline for 2017 at The Wilbur and Niso Smith Foundation
 REPORT
georgina-1 georgina-1
Owner
16 items   2 followers   0 votes   233 views

2017 at The Wilbur and Niso Smith Foundation

Join us in taking a look back at the last year at The Wilbur and Niso Smith Foundation. There's been grants given, awards awarded and plenty of new friends made. But above all else, we are delighted that you have been part of the adventure. Here is to an even better 2018!

JANUARY

The year was off to a great start. We promoted the 2017 Wilbur Smith Adventure Writing Prize with publishers, in schools, through creative writing groups and in magazines. The response was phenomenal and final submissions increased by almost 100% from the previous year. Penguin Random House recommended the 2017 Wilbur Smith Adventure Writing Prize as #2 on their list of the best writing competitions to enter.

2

FEBRUARY

FEBRUARY

In February and March, South African writer Kirsten Miller made the most of the travel grant awarded to her as winner of the 2016 Best Unpublished Manuscript. Kirsten visited Barcelona and Dublin, undertaking invaluable research for her new novel. She told us:

"This incredible opportunity for solitude, travel, deep work, reading, and writing has been an immeasurable gift in ways far beyond the obvious. The generosity of Wilbur and Niso Smith in providing these opportunities for writers is at a level of changing lives and influencing not only the careers of writers, but also spreading opportunity for reading and literature [...] Thank you to the Wilbur and Niso Smith Foundation for what they have done for me, and for their contribution to other writers and readers in the future."

Kirsten has since found a publisher for her manuscript, The Hum of the Sun, and believes the impact of her award will resonate for some time to come as her book begins to take on a life of its own.

3

MARCH

MARCH

The very first Author of Tomorrow stories were published by our partner Worldreader, a fantastic charity on a mission to make everyone a reader (more on them to follow). The stories were read over 60,000 times in the first month and all three reached Worldreader's global top ten reads.

Since being published, these stories have been read in 98 countries and are even being used by students of the Chamwino Secondary School in Tanzania to improve their English.

4

MARCH

MARCH

March saw US author Corban Addison visit Gabon, West Africa. Corban told us what it means to him to be an adventure writer, particularly when your next story is going to be set in the past. He said:

"It was the longest time I've been without mobile and Internet access since I've had a smartphone. I even took my watch off, because the only time that mattered was given by the declination of the sun. The forests and rivers were alive with creatures large and small--gorillas, chimpanzees, elephants, buffalo, hippos, birds, snakes, even wild cats--and the trees and savannah were extraordinary.

I had no idea how much I would fall in love with Africa. People had told me many divergent stories about the continent, but no one had quite prepared me for the way it stole my heart. Thank you for believing in me as an author and storyteller and for making this possible."

5

APRIL

APRIL

In April, we shortlisted the submissions for the 2017 Wilbur Smith Adventure Writing Prize. It was no mean feat, with 168 entries from 30 different countries.

Meanwhile, we were also preparing and submitting our first report to the charity commission which gave us a chance to reflect on the Foundation's first year. In that year, we donated over 1,000 books and supported 27 authors from as young as 14 years old. Our work reached people in over 100 countries where we opened the conversation around what modern-day adventure writing really is and how we can use it to improve literacy in young people lives. A successful year!

6

MAY

MAY

We announced the shortlists across all three categories for the 2017 Wilbur Smith Adventure Writing Prize, delighted to feature a diverse list from the UK, South Africa, Malaysia, Belize and India. We sent the shortlist to the judges knowing full-well we had just presented them with a very difficult decision. We even started to keep count of how many times we saw someone reading one of the books on their daily commute - the answer: almost daily!

7

JUNE

JUNE

In June we opened The Literacy Fund, our first micro-grants programme. Over the next three months we would receive almost 600 applications from organisations seeking support for the work they do to improve young people's literacy levels in sub-Saharan Africa.

8

JULY

JULY

We like to donate adventure books to other charities who can put them to good use - introducing them to new audiences and giving books to people who might not own any themselves. In July we continued this book donation drive, donating 330 copies of Wilbur Smith's Pharaoh to BookAid International. BookAid believe in a world where everyone has access to books that will enrich, improve and change their lives. What better way to do this than through adventure writing?

9

AUGUST

AUGUST

Throughout August we were busy preparing for the 2017 Wilbur Smith Adventure Writing Prize awards ceremony, hosted at the Royal Geographical Society in London. We were excited about welcoming our closest friends to join us in celebrating another year of fantastic adventure writing. The generous people at Field Notes donated a selection of .their notebooks to our guests' gift bags - along with copies of the shortlisted titles and Wilbur Smith's latest novel, it was enough to make everyone want their own adventure!

10

AUGUST

AUGUST

As if that wasn't enough, South African vineyard Journey's End kindly agreed to sponsor the 2017 Wilbur Smith Adventure Writing Prize, providing enough bottles of their delicious wine for our guests to enjoy. Thank you, Journey's End!

SEPTEMBER

The 7th September arrived meaning that we had finally reached the big day: the awards ceremony and announcement of the winners of the 2017 Wilbur Smith Adventure Writing Prize. The judges didn't hesitate to tell us how difficult their decision was.

12

SEPTEMBER

SEPTEMBER

Stef Penney won the £10,000 prize for Best Published Novel for her Arctic adventure, Under a Pole Star, presented here by Niso Smith.

As one judge said, “When I think about adventure writing, I think about stories that take me on a journey as a reader. I felt like I was there […] Stef truly evoked both the time and place that she was describing, created a compelling story that kept me coming back, that transported me to a place that I had never seen or really even spent much time thinking about, and gave me characters that I really did fall in love with. It was compelling.”

Best Unpublished Manuscript went to Matthew Di Paoli for his work, Holliday, featuring infamous gambler, gunslinger and dentist from the American mid-west- Doc Holliday. Matt received the Writer's Adventure Research Award and will be travelling to Japan in March 2018 to research for a new novel.

Author of Tomorrow went to Wilbur Bryant Dublin for The Safe-House Café and Wilbur and Niso's special commendation to Frederick Morgan for Sir Hop. Both young authors received the £1,000 prize and digital publication.

13

SEPTEMBER

SEPTEMBER

The awards were not the only thing we were celebrating in September. In honour of International Literacy Day, we partnered with Worldreader to create the 'Adventure Collection'.

Led by one of Wilbur's own short stories, On Flinders' Face, the collection is a miniature library within Worldreader's open library. New titles are added to the collection every quarter.

Colin McElwee, Worldreader Co-Founder, said: "Readers in every part of the world love adventure. We are committed to providing readers in communities where books are scarce with culturally relevant stories that inspire cultures of reading. This collection is an important step in that direction."

14

OCTOBER

OCTOBER

October saw work begin on the 2018 Wilbur Smith Adventure Writing Prize. We announced the five-strong judging panel, from L-R: Stef Penney, winner of 2016 Best Published Novel; Steve Winter, National Geographic Filmmaker and Photographer; Alex Crawford, Sky News Foreign Correspondent; Kevin Conroy Scott, Literary Agent and Creative Director at Tibor Jones; and Kirsty Coventry, Olympic gold-medallist and founder of the Kirsty Coventry Academy.

We were excited to confirm the 2018 awards ceremony will take place on 20th September 2018 at London's Stationers' Hall.

15

NOVEMBER

NOVEMBER

In November, four organisations were awarded a Literacy Fund grant. After receiving hundreds of applications, the trustees made the difficult decision and chose to support the following excellent organisations:

Moyo wa Afrika (Tanzania) - a girl's centre in rural Tanzania, who support young women from remote villages, will establish their own library and run creative writing workshops.

M-LISADA (Uganda) - a children's home in Kampala, Uganda, who use the creative arts to educate their young people will develop their reading programme using fiction and adventure stories.

African Angels (South Africa) - a school where every student is from a socially and economically disadvantaged background, will grow their after-school reading programme, aiming to for all children to reach the correct reading age by the end of 2018.

ZimLibrary (Zimbabwe) - a community library in Harare will develop a network of reading clubs led by young people in their two of their local districts: Damafalls and Ruwa.

Watch this space for updates on their progress over the next year.

16

DECEMBER

DECEMBER

Earlier in the year, fellow charity, Give-a-Book received a donation from us in the form of a large number of books which they have put to excellent use. We were thrilled that a selection of the books have been sent as Christmas presents to care-leavers working with Pure Insight and Manchester Christmas Dinner. We hope everyone enjoys the adventures!