3 African books have made it to the longlist for the 2024 Wilbur Smith Adventure Writing Prize is out in the category of Best Published Novel. They include Blessings by Chukwuebuka Ibeh, Shigidi and the Brass Head of Obalufon by Wole Talabi, and The African Samurai by Craig Shreve.

Launched in 2015, the Wilbur and Niso Smith Foundation is a charitable organization dedicated to empowering young writers, the advancement of the adventure writing genre, and the promotion of literacy. The Wilbur Smith Adventure Writing Prize is an annual international prize that supports and celebrates the best adventure writing today. The Prize is open to writers of any nationality, writing in English, and the winner receives £10,000.

The 2024 longlist consists of 12 books selected by a panel of librarians and library staff from across the UK and includes works by British, Australian, American, Canadian, Georgian, Indian, Nigerian and South Korean authors. Five of the titles are debut works including Ibeh’s Blessings.

Written by Nigerian writer Chukwuebuka Ibeh, Blessings is a queer coming-of-age novel set in Nigeria and told from the perspectives of a mother and her son in a time when Nigeria criminalizes same-sex relationships.

Penned by Nigerian author Wole Talabi, Shigidi and the Brass Head of Obalufon is a fast-paced heist novel involving Yoruba gods liberating a powerful artifact from London’s British Museum.

Craig Shreve’s The African Samurai is a historical novel that tells the story of Yasuke, an East African enslaved captive traveling in a Portuguese trade ship to Kuchinotsu, Japan in 1579. Arriving in Japan, Yasuke soon rises up the ranks to become the first and only African samurai in history.

The shortlist will be announced on May 30, while the winner will be awarded in September.

Congrats to all three writers!