Adventure Writing Awards 2017

On September 7th, 2017, I attended the Adventure Writing Awards at the Royal Geographical Society in London. It was magical.

You’re probably wondering why I was invited. Well, for one week only I was fortunate to be interning at Tibor Jones. They are his agents and share the same office space, for the convenience, with the  Wilbur & Niso Smith Foundation aka the manager Georgina Brown.  I had been hoping all week that she would ask me to come and help. On the day of the event, I received the email. I was ecstatic.

I took the long way to the event, walking along the lake in Hyde Park and singing to myself. Beautiful London, my London, I live here!


Everything was all sorted when I arrived, just to wait for the guests. I had been asked to live tweet the event on behalf of Tibor Jones. You know, the usual social media millennial task.

There were about one hundred people in the auditorium, a sleek dark theatre with black leather chairs. The presentation was a fantastic display of the great work the Wilbur & Niso Foundation is doing. They are truly supporting and encouraging other adventure writers and promoting literacy.


There were three awards announced, the Author of Tomorrow Award for adventure writers Under 21, Unpublished Manuscript Award, and the Wilbur Smith Adventure Award. They have partnered with the organization Worldreader, which bring kindles to children all over the world. Kindles, unlike a book, can hold thousands of stories and thus create a huge library for a community. No duh, I knew that. I reconsidered my aversion to the kindle.

The Author of Tomorrow winner Wilbur Bryant Dublin recorded a video thanking Wilbur and Niso from Malaysia.

The Unpublished Manuscript winner Matthew Di Paoli stated that this award was the “pinnacle of his career” and that the life of a writer is an adventure. How I felt that so fully in my bosom.

From Wilbur & Niso TwitterFrom Wilbur & Niso Foundation Twitter

The Adventure Award winner Stef Penney received £10,000 in recognition of her fantastic novel, Under a Pole Star. She was glowing on stage, as she spoke about how she appreciated the statement they were making – that women were adventure writers, too!

The lights went up and I had a profound feeling that people’s dreams do come true. Wilbur and Niso Smith’s work at the foundation were helping make dreams come true – you can be an adventurer. There is a place for you in the capitalist world.

We gathered in the Maps Room to celebrate. It was the perfect location – with a huge Chinese map from the 7th century and portraits of adventurers on the walls. We toasted with Journey’s End wine and delightful canapes.

I was on such a buzz, and quickly drank four glasses of wine, while chatting with literary agents, authors, and my colleagues. I had a very enthusiastic chat with Christopher Winn about Los Angeles. He wants to write a I Never Knew That About Los Angeles book; he has written a whole series and even featured on the BBC! I told him that I would give him the locals tour, and was my usual pretentious “nobody knows LA like I know LA” self.

It was a wonderful evening, and I said goodbye to Landa and Kevin, and the Tibor Jones team on my way out. I walked into the night in my Scooby Doo sweater thinking, life is strange and I might just be living my dream.