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Brunel lecturer shortlisted for Wilbur Smith Adventure Writing Prize


Brunel University London Creative Writing lecturer Sarah Penny has been shortlisted for the 2017 Wilbur Smith Adventure Writing Prize in the category of Best Unpublished Manuscript.

Penny’s Sangoma Boy has reached the four-strong shortlist for the prize, which launched in 2016 to celebrate and empower writers in the adventure writing genre.

Of the titles shortlisted for Best Unpublished Manuscript, one will receive the Writer’s Adventure Research Award - a £5,000 grant to support the writer in travelling to undertake research for their next novel. The winner will also be offered guidance from Wilbur Smith’s literary agent, Kevin Conroy Scott, at Tibor Jones & Associates.

The winner will be announced at an awards ceremony on 7th September at London’s Royal Geographical Society alongside a winner in the published category.

Wilbur Smith was born in what is now Zambia in 1933. Since 1964 he has travelled the world in the name of research for his 39 novels, which have since been translated into 32 languages.

Sarah Penny moved to the UK from South Africa in 2003 to lecture in Creative Writing at Brunel University London. She is the author of a travelogue and two novels, one of which was a national set text for final year students in South Africa. 

Penny also uses creative writing for social change, and is currently studying the MsC in Using Creative Writing for Therapeutic Purposes at the Metanoia Institute. She has previously worked with supporting communities to transition from FGM but is now focused on working with educating South African learners about xenophobia. She is a Winston Churchill Memorial Trust Fellow. Teaching interests include African fiction, children’s fiction and expressive arts therapies.

Sangoma Boy was the creative writing component of Sarah Penny's PhD at Brunel. The exegetical component looked at the treatment of sangomas ('traditional healers') in contemporary Southern African literature.

Creative Writing at Brunel is ranked 8th in the UK out of 106 similar courses in this year’s Guardian University Guide.

Find out more about the Wilbur Smith Adventure Writing Prize from the Wilbur and Niso Smith Foundation.

Reported by:

Sarah Cox, Media Relations