Wilbur Addison Smith
was born January 9th 1933 in Northern Rhodesia (now Zambia), and currently lives in South Africa
. He was named after Wilbur Wright, one of the flight pioneering Wright
brothers. He was educated at Michaelhouse and Rhodes University
, and graduated with a Batchelor of Commerce in 1954. He married his first wife
Jewell Sabbert in 1964, and his second and current wife Danielle Thomas in 1971. He has 2 sons and 1 daughter, owns a farm and game reserve and has an abiding concern for the peoples and wildlife
of his native continent, an interest strongly reflected in his novels.
Both of his parents were born in England and taken to Africa as children, Wilbur holds both British and South African citizenship. His father is the model for many of the intimidating men in his son's novels. Being a family man, he comments about his staff, saying "Anyone who has worked for us for 25 years, I buy them a house, and we educate all their children. I've got about 25 kids going to technical college!"
Interesting Facts : *Wilbur's favourite novel is The Sunbird. It has special significance for him because it was the first novel he wrote after meeting Danielle. *His personal stationery has a small, royal blue sunbird at the top his property in Constantina is called Sunbird Hill, and if you look on the bottom right hand corner of all his hardcover books, actually printed into the cover is an impression of the same sunbird that is on his stationery. *River God and Seventh Scroll were on Wilbur's mind as early as 1990, when he was in Australia promoting Golden Fox, he said he was heading back to Africa to take a cruise down the Nile because he "had a few ideas about trying to do another Sunbird" sometime in the future. *Wilbur's first novel, which has never seen the light of day, was rejected nearly 20 times. It's still unpublished and he keeps that book in a safe place. Whenever he starts to believe in his own publicity he gets the book out to bring himself back to earth!
He became a full-time writer in 1964 after the successful publication of When the Lion Feeds for which he was offered $250.000 for the handwritten copy! (which he turned down), and has since written 26 novels, all meticulously researched on his numerous expeditions worldwide. His books are now translated into 26 different languages, and he has dedicated each of his books to his wife, Danielle. He even makes a point of beginning each new novel on their wedding anniversary.
His first four novels were originally banned in South Africa and his phone tapped for the indecent, obsene, and objectional content in his novels to which Wilbur comments, "There's nothing like a good book banning to set an author on his feet!"
Smith bases his many characters with physical disabilities on himself, as he had polio when he was a child and his right leg is withered.
River God was the first Smith novel that was keyed and not penned, and Wilbur now writes a new book every 2 years instead of ever year. His books have sold over 70 million copies.
He discovered a ruined city in Botswana which became the inspiration for The Sunbird , and it is now a regular tourist spot.
Here is a List of his Novels :
The Courtneys :
When the Lion Feeds,
The Sound of Thunder,
A Sparrow Falls,
Birds of Prey,
The Courtneys of Africa :
The Burning Shore,
Power of the Sword,
A Time to Die,
The Ballantyne Novels :
A Falcon Flies,
Men of Men,
The Angels Weep,
The Leopard Hunts in Darkness.
The Dark of the Sun,
Shout at the Devil,
The Diamond Hunters,
Eagle in the Sky,
The Eye of the Tiger,
Hungry as the Sea,
The Seventh Scroll,