Chukwuebuka Ibeh’s Blessings has made it to the shortlist of six for the 2024 Wilbur Smith Adventure Writing Prize.

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.

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.

The six shortlisted books will now progress to the judging panel, all experts in either the fields of literature or adventure. The panel comprises writer and journalist Matt Barr; former professional mountain bike racer Lee Craigie; marine conservationist Dr Alasdair Harris; athlete Sarah Outen; and Emma Styles, author and winner of the 2023 Wilbur Smith Adventure Writing Prize.

One seat on the judging panel is reserved for readers. The Reader’s Vote is open now until July 31, and gives everyone three votes to award. Go vote for Ibeh here!

Chukwuebuka Ibeh is a writer from Port Harcourt, Nigeria. His writing has appeared in McSweeneysThe New England Review of Books, and Lolwe, amongst others, and he was a staff writer at Brittle Paper. Ibeh was the Runner-up for the 2021 J.F Powers Prize for Fiction, a finalist for the Gerald Kraak Award and Morland Foundation Scholarship and was profiled as one of the “Most Promising New Voices of Nigerian Fiction” in Electric Literature. He is currently completing his MFA at Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri.

The winner will be awarded in September.

Congrats to Ibeh and good luck!