October, 2019

I just thought it worth noting that in the two years since I launched ny services, I have now had the pleasure of providing advice to over 80 authors via the Feedback Report Service. I have come across some delightful pieces of fiction, and have received such positive responses from authors. It seems that the most important element of my reports, as far as authors are concerned, is their honesty, and the fact that they get to the essence of any technical issues within the manuscripts. I so enjoy my work, which allows me to make contact with such dedicated authors, and to deal with such creative and imaginative minds.

October  2019

The Best Unpublished Manuscript prize was awarded to Cecily Blench for her historical fiction, What We Did at the End. Cecily has been given a publishing deal with Bonnier Books UK, and has also secured representation with Charlotte Colwill at Bravo Blue Literary Agency in association with Tibor Jones and Associates.

What We Did at the End follows the journey of unlikely friends, Kate and Edwin, as they are forced to flee 1940's Birma following the Japanese invasion. They are suddenly exposed to new people and terrifying experiences as they are caught up in the turmoil of Burmese history.

There was a very well attended awards' ceremony at the amazing Stationers' Hall in London, with young authors, debut novelists, established writers, and representatives from across the publishing industry, all enjoying an evening of presentions and videos, all choreographed by close friend and lifelong fan of Wilbur Smith, broadcaster Katie Silverton.

It won't be long before the New Year and the announcement of the 2020 competition  We can only hope that, like the previous two winners, that a new name will emerge in the adventure genre with yet another book deal.

July 2019

A total of nine authors have been shortlisted for the unpublished manuscript competition; five from the U.S.A, one from South Africa and three from Britain. See the Wilbur Smith Foundation website for details of all shortlisted authors and summaries of their novels. The awards ceremony will take place in London on September 12, before an invited audience of some 150 representatives from the publishing industry.

MAY 2019

A total of 394 entries finally received for the Wilbur Smith unpublished manuscript competition, an increase of over 100 from last year. Again, entries from all over the world, and with a quality that was good throughout, so making shortlisting extremely difficult. An announcement will be made shortly.

February 2019

With just three weeks to go to the closing date on March 1st., there have been over 190 entries so far for the Unpublished Manuscript competition organised by the Wilbur and Niso Smith Foundation.

If you are wondering whether your novel falls into the "adventure" category, be assured that the brief is quite extensive in the range of work it encompasses. Please look at the synopses of the winner and runner-ups from last year, and I am sure you will be pleasantly surprised. If you have any doubts, then put them to one side, and do enter your work. Nothing ventured, nothing gained. Entry is, of course, free. Full details at www.wilbur-niso-smithfoundation.org

January 2019

Wilbur Smith celebrated his 86th birthday this month, at home in Cape Town, and we all wish him well for 2019.

Following on from the success of the Best Unpublished Manuscript of 2018, with over 250 entrants, this month sees the launch of this year's competition run by the Wilbur and Niso Smith Foundation, with a fabulous first prize of a publishing deal with Bonnier Zaffre, which involves an advance of £15,000 sterling; plus there will be help with manuscript development for a select number of runners-up. The four runners-up from 2018 are currently being prepared for submission to publishers, so hopefully some good news from them soon.

This really is one of the most prestigious prizes available to debut authors, and has the potential to form the basis of a future career in writing.

By the end of this first week, some 27 entries have already been received, so don't waiver, and send in your entry as soon as possible. Closing date for entries is just a few weeks away, at midnight on Friday, 1 March  (St.David's Day, too). I refer you to www.wilbur-niso-smithfoundation.org for competition details and rules. If you have already self-published, then take heart, as this does not prevent you from entering as an unpublished author. Good luck to all entrants, and you can be assured that all entries will be conscientiously read.

Further good news, as author Lynn Bushell, who lives between Suffolk and Normandy France, is having a book launch in Daunt's in Holland Park, London, next month, having secured a deal with Sandstone Press for her evocative novel, "Painted Ladies", set in Bonnard's Paris studio in 1917. Lynn's determination and patience have paid off, and she is an inspiration for all authors. The publication of her book coincides with a major exhibition of  Bonnard's work, the first in over 20 years, at London's Tate Modern.

September 2018

The Wilbur and Niso Smith Foundation.

Australian author, Bill Swiggs, from Perth, was announced as the winner of the Best Unpublished Manuscript, with his novel, Blood in the Dust, and world rights have been secured by Bonnier Zaffre, with publication set for next September. Bill was awarded a travel grant of £7,500 to enable him to research his next novel.The awards ceremony in London was attended by over 200 represenatives from within the publishing industry.

The four runner-ups were, in alphabetical order; Dan Cross (Colombia), with Caesar of Mercenaries; Newton Fisher (England) with The Differences; Linda Spur (England) with Pathway to the Gods; and Alex Usher (USA) with Katie Hope and the Eternal Empress. All four have attracted agent interest, and if any publishing deals are signed I will let you know.

The 2019 competition for adventure writing will be announced in January with details of the various categories for published novel, unpublished novel, and author of tomorrow (for authors under 21 years of age).

August 2018

Quite a lot has happened in recent months.

The total number of entries for The Wilbur and Niso Smith Foundation unpublished author competition topped 250, which is double last year's entries. The quality was very strong, and it was a difficult job to narrow the entries down to a shortlist of 18, and even more difficult to arrive at a shortlist of five. The shortlisted authors, from England (2), Colombia, Australia and The United States, all produced very professional manuscripts. The winner will be announced at a special ceremony at the Stationers' Hall, London in September, which will be attended by a cross section of literary agents and publishers. It is hoped that not only the winner, but maybe some of the shortlisted authors will be able to secure agent representation and eventually publishing deals.

Last month saw the publication of  Tam Rodwell's "Daredevil Dads" by Crux Publishing. The book is a compilation of interviews with 15 international celebrities who somehow manage to still have fairly normal family lives, whilst being engaged in some of the world's most dangerous professions. The interviewees range from astronaut and surfer, to bomb disposal technician and high wire walker. Tam has delved into these individuals' lives in an attempt to discover how they are able to maintain a balance between their personal and professional lives, and to focus on the effect of their dangerous work on their families. Tam, who hails from Australia, but currently lives with his family in London, has his own welding business as his day job, but just loves the challenge of writing. His first book , "Becoming Daddy", which he self published, is an incredibly informative, yet hilarious guide for new dads. Both books recommended as ideal  birthday or Christmas presents for any dad.

January 2018

Very pleased to announce that entries are now being welcomed for a competition for unpublished authors in the adventure genre, sponsored by The Wilbur and Niso Smith Foundation. I'm delighted to have been appointed as assessor and mentor for this competition, whose closing date is on March 12. I'll be reading entries anonymously, and forwarding a shortlist on to a final judging panel, with an announcement of the winner in May. The winner will be offered support to help bring his/her completed manuscript to publication, and will also be given an award of £7,500, to enable research of their next novel, which could entail travel abroad.

The Foundation has a number of aims; to advance and promote the adventure genre by supporting writers;  to enhance the appreciation of adventure writing worldwide; and to help provide literacy education across the world with a focus on Sub Saharan Africa. Much work has already be done on a number of exciting projects, details of which can be found on the Foundation's website at: www.wilbur-niso-smithfoundation.org

For those of you unfamiliar with Wilbur Smith's work, his current total of 40 published novels covers a writing career spanning more than 50 years, during which time his novels have sold globally,  being translated into 32 languages A native of Northern Rhodesia, now Zambia, he, and his wife Niso, spend a lot of their time travelling, particularly throughout Africa, supporting the Foundation's ongoing projects.

Also, next month sees the publication by Faber of Alison White's wonderful,  "Letter to Louis", with a launch party in Pembrokeshire. An incredibly moving and inspirational story, I would urge you to get a copy.

October 2017

Juliet Butler’s debut novel, The Less You Know the Sounder You Sleep, has gained over 25 five-star reviews on amazon, and a stack of similar reviews on Good Reads. Well done.

The Penfro Book Festival, now in its seventh year, was yet again a very succesful weekend. Whilst judging the First Chapter Competition, with over 100 entries, I found  it extremely difficult to draw up a shortlist, and eventually arrived at 11, all of whom I am pledged to work with over the winter months, to help with their manuscripts. There were some very encouraging entries from all over the country, so let’s hope that some may achieve publishing deals in the future.

Debut author, Alison White, who attended a workshop I ran some three years ago, is getting published by Faber in the spring of 2018, with her moving tribute to her son, Letter to Louis.  Inspiring, uplifting, and beautifully written, Faber are excited about its upcoming launch.

September also saw the publication in France of Alex Lester's "Le Pays des Hommes Blesses" (When All the Men are Wounded) by Denoel, a quality publisher of the likes of Ray Bradbury and Jack Kerouac, amonsgt others. It's a powerful novel, not for the faint-hearted, based in the dying days of Smith's regime in former Rhodesia. I remember conducting the first major edit with Alex in the coffee shop of the Dylan Thomas Centre in Swansea, some four years ago, and it then went on to be honed by staff at Tibor Jones and Associates.


April 2017

The main news is that this is my first newsletter, hopefully the first of many to come. I might be able to flag up competitions for you to enter, literary festivals to consider, workshops to possibly attend.

There is one festival I am going to mention, that is open NOW for entries. It's the Penfro Book Festival, taking place in September, in North Pembrokeshire. They have a particular competition for debut authors requiring the submission of just the first chapter – appropriately, it's called the First Chapter Competition ( well, it would be wouldn't it.). £10 entry fee, with prizes entitling the three winners to partake of a one to one review session with the competition judge, followed by six months of email support for their novel's development. Seven other runners up will receive a face to face or written review of their submitted work. The winner from last year has been agented by Watson Little, and another two authors from last year are nearing completion of their final drafts, before submission to agents and publishers. Just google Penfro Book Festival for details. You may notice that the judge is a certain David Llewelyn.

I would urge you to attend the weekend festival if you can, as it is one of the few festivals that still caters for authors, with workshops and lectures, and is small enough, but thoroughly professional , to satisfy the debut author's needs. So many festivals nowadays are mere showcases for authors parading their latest works, and are very commercial in their thrust.

 

I'm delighted to announce the publishing date for debut author, Juliet Butler's novel “The Less You Know The Sounder You Sleep", which has a launch date on August 10. Published by 4th Estate, a quality imprint of Harper Collins, it's the first book for which I've acted as an agent, and I couldn't have wished for a better novel to champion in my new role. Juliet is delighted to have had her first amazon review of an advance copy, and it's a five star. Well done.

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Hi David, these are the menu options - so we could, for example, show book covers in the menu..

And then we could have a link - www.art-book.co.uk