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You can read the winner and the shortlisted entries here:


For over 20 years, the Bradt Travel Guides New Travel Writer of the Year competition has been offering unpublished travel writers an invaluable first step in their careers. This year entrants were asked to write a piece of 600-800 words which had to include the phrase ‘And then it happened…’


The overall winner will receive a fantastic break for two in Portugal, courtesy of Wexas and TAP Air Portugal, as well as a commission to write about their trip for Wexas Traveller magazine. All three shortlisted writers win a place on the next Bradt Travel Writing seminar, run in conjunction with leading travel writing training agency, Travellers’ Tales.

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Kirstin Zhang was raised in Cyprus and Papua New Guinea, and currently lives in Edinburgh. Following studies in Tokyo, and at the School of Oriental and African Studies, London, she completed a MLitt in Creative Writing at the University of Glasgow. Her short fiction has appeared in publications such as GQ and Harper’s Bazaar, and been broadcast on BBC Radio 4. She is the Creative Learning Coordinator for Creative Scotland, the public body which supports the arts, screen and creative industries across Scotland.

Kirstin is the author of ‘Closer to Home’, which the judges described as, “a crisply-told story with a strong sense of both place and a particular moment in history, combined with moving reflections on the author’s childhood.”


Chris Baker is a professional scientist, insatiable traveller and committed islomaniac. Since completing a PhD in computational chemistry, he has lived, worked and studied in China, the USA and the UK. Wherever he has been, whether in the lab or on the road, his aims have always been to build a better understanding of the world around him, and to write about what he learns. He lives in Wiltshire with his wife and sons, and dreams of moving to Cocos (Keeling).

Chris is shortlisted for ‘Just Visiting’, of which the judges said: “It takes real talent for a writer to describe an uninspiring city in a way that brings it vividly to life and persuades the reader to share his affection.  That the writing is seemingly effortless is an illusion; a lot of care will have gone into creating such a polished piece.”

Christopher Walsh has spent over forty years wandering the planet. For some of those four decades he has been more directly involved in the travel industry but for the most part has been in the field of Education. Writing has always remained a serious interest for him but, in recent years, has sometimes had to compete with another love - photography. He has lived for extended periods in nine countries and explored over sixty nations or territories during times of peace and of conflict.

This is what the judges had to say about Christopher’s story ‘Of Straws that Break Camels’ Backs’: “This is a thrilling story about a journey into a country at war, and the speed with which adventurous spirit can evaporate in the face of real-life terrors. The structure is brilliantly handled, the tale pinned on a metaphor as we watch the disintegration – stage by stage, or straw after straw – of the author’s mental strength.”