Edward Stanford Award for Outstanding Contribution to Travel Writing 2021

Dervla Murphy received the prestigious Edward Stanford Award for Outstanding Contribution to Travel Writing.


Dervla Murphy’s first book, Full Tilt: Ireland to India with a Bicycle, was published in 1965. Over 20 other titles have followed. Dervla has won worldwide praise for her writing and has been described as a ‘travel legend’ and ‘the first lady of Irish cycling’.


Vivien Godfrey, Chairman and Chief Executive of Stanfords said, “Ever since her first book was published, Dervla has been a constant bestseller at Stanfords. Through her writing, she continues to inspire readers of all ages to travel and remain open minded to experiences. She is considered a legend among the travel writing world and her knowledge and passion for learning about the world has had such a positive influence on the genre and we couldn’t be happier to present her with this much deserved accolade.”


John Murray, Dervla’s friend and former publisher commented, “Dervla delivered the typescript of her early travels arriving at 50 Albemarle Street on her long-suffering bicycle direct from India. From that moment she revealed herself as a truly original and fearless traveller. Nurtured by my father and edited by my mother, Dervla and in time her daughter Rachel became part of the Murray family. In some ways Stanford’s was a second home to her where she spent much time seeking out maps to the more obscure areas of the world in preparation for new exploits. She is without doubt a worthy recipient of the Edward Stanford Award for Outstanding Contribution to Travel Writing. Well done Dervla.”


The ESTWA globe trophy was sent to Dervla Murphy at her home in Ireland. In her acceptance speech Dervla said, 

“I’m very very happy to be awarded this magnificent globe. I have the fondest memories of going to Stanfords at the very beginning of my travels beyond Europe when I needed all sorts of maps to get me from Istanbul to Delhi and then later even more complicated maps to walk through Baltistan and through Ethiopia and the Simiens. There were virtually no maps in those days of those areas except at Stanfords so it’s a very nice link to have this globe.” 


Dervla received congratulatory messages from Michael Palin, Colin Thubron, Hilary Bradt, Lois Pryce and her editor and publisher at Eland. All can be seen in the 2021 Edward Stanford Travel Writing Awards video.