World-Class Shortlist Announced for the Edward Stanford Travel Writing Awards 2019

The Edward Stanford Travel Writing Awards (ESTWA) exist to recognise the best travel writing in the world. Nominations include both multi-award winning titles and debut authors certain to captivate and inspire readers, provoke new thoughts and offer fresh perspectives.

The shortlist of 42 books, divided into seven awards categories, will take you on a fascinating journey across the globe; stories that uncover the secrets of the lost Ottoman Empire, tales of street dogs in Turkey, adventures aboard a boat in terrifyingly intense oceans, wafting into Persian kitchens and out of war zones.

Travel Food & Drink Book of the Year spans the culinary globe including recipes from the remote isle of Shetland created by James and Tom Morton, the warm shores of the Black Sea from Caroline Eden, and delights from the capital of Nordic cuisine in Copenhagen Food by Trine Hahnemann. Each book will tantalise taste buds as well as unlocking the secrets of the local culture.

In the Fiction, with a Sense of Place category, readers are guided masterfully through the history of Uganda in Kintu by Jennifer Nansubuga Makumi, experience life in Japan as a Convenience Store Woman - by Sayaka Murata , and navigate the web of friendship, explored against the backdrop of Singapore’s sticky heat in Ponti by Sharlene Teo.

Vivien Godfrey, Chairman and Chief Executive of Stanfords, says, “We’re delighted to announce the shortlist; a formidable line up of incredibly talented writers across the full spectrum of the travel writing genre”.

“2019 is a very exciting year for Stanfords as we make our own journey from Long Acre to our new premises on Mercer Walk, and what better way to start that adventure than with these Awards which are now in their fourth year.”

The winner of the Stanford Dolman Travel Book of the Year Award, in association with The Authors Club, will receive £2,500 at the awards ceremony which takes place at Unit London, 3 Hanover Square in Mayfair, London. WS1 1HD, on the 28th February.

Judges for the 2019 awards include explorer Benedict Allen, author Horatio Clare, Vanity Fair travel editor Michelle Jana Chan and Wanderlust editor Phoebe Smith. Each winner will be presented with a hand-made globe featuring a design produced exclusively for the ESTWAs.

The final award is the Edward Stanford Outstanding Contribution to Travel Writing. The previous winners were Bill Bryson, Michael Palin and Jan Morris.

The full shortlist can be found below:

Stanford Dolman Travel Book of the Year

Titles have been selected in this category for their innovative and/or literary merit with content which is relevant, useful or inspiring to travellers:

  • Ottoman Odyssey: Travels Through a Lost Empire, Alev Scott, Jamie Whyte (Map and Illustration) (Riverrun, Quercus)

  • Lights in the Distance: Exile and Refuge at the Borders of Europe, Daniel Trilling (Picador, Pan Macmillan)

  • The Rhine: Following Europe’s Greatest River from Amsterdam to the Alps, Ben Coates (Nicholas Brealey Publishing)

  • Dancing Bears: True Stories about Longing for the Old Days, Witold Szablowski (translated from Polish by Antonia Lloyd Jones) (Text Publishing)

  • The Stopping Places: A Journey Through Gypsy Britain, Damian Le Bas (Chatto & Windus)

  • The Immeasurable World: Journeys in Desert Places, William Atkins (Faber & Faber)

Fiction, with a Sense of Place

These shortlisted fictional novels (populist or literary) have been selected for their highly developed and integral sense of a real location interwoven within the plot or narrative:

  • Kintu, Jennifer Nansubuga Makumbi (Oneworld)

  • Convenience Store Woman, Sayaka Murata (Translated by Ginny Tapley Takemori) (Granta Publications)

  • Ponti, Sharlene Teo (Picador, Pan Macmillan)

  • The Madonna of the Mountains, Elise Valmorbida (Faber & Faber)

  • Woman At Sea, Catherine Poulain (Jonathan Cape)

  • House of Stone, Novuyo Rosa Tshuma (Atlantic Books)

Lonely Planet Adventure Travel Book of the Year

This award will go to an author of an accessible non-fiction book, describing an individual's personal adventure or recounting an historical life or expedition:

  • The Secret Surfer, Iain Gately (Head of Zeus)

  • Kings of the Yukon: A River Journey in Search of the Chinook, Adam Weymouth (Particular, Penguin Press)

  • Up: My Life’s Journey to the Top of Everest, Ben and Marina Fogle, Mark Fisher (photographer) (HarperCollins)

  • Arabia: A Journey Through The Heart of the Middle East, Levison Wood (Hodder & Stoughton)

  • Around the World in 80 Days: My World Record Breaking Adventure, Mark Beaumont (Bantam Press)

  • Me, My Bike and a Street Dog Called Lucy, Ishbel Holmes (Bradt Travel Guides)

Ordnance Survey Children’s Travel Book of the Year

These fiction or non-fiction title for pre-teens have been selected as they inspires a love of travel, exploration and adventure:

  • Destination: Planet Earth, Jo Nelson, illustrated by Tom Clohosy Cole (Wide Eye Editions, Quarto)

  • Alastair Humpreys’ Great Adventures, Alastair Humphreys, illustrated by Kevin Ward (Big Picture Press, Bonnier)

  • Explorers on Witch Mountain, Alex Bell, illustrated by Tomislav Tomic (Faber & Faber)

  • Atlas of Adventures: Wonders of the World, Ben Handicott, illustrated by Lucy Letherland (Wide Eye Editions, Quarto)

  • Journeys, Jonathan Litton, illustrated by Leo Hartas, Chris Chalik, Jon Davis and David Shephard (360 Degrees, Little Tiger Group)

  • Maps of the United Kingdom, Rachel Dixon and Illustrated by Livi Gosling (Wide Eye Editions, Quarto)

Photography and Illustrated Travel Book of the Year

This award is for a book of photography, illustrations, maps or infographics relating to travel, adventure or world cultures. Focused either on a single location or the entire World, with limited accompanying text:

  • The Writer’s Map: An Atlas of Imaginary Lands, Huw Lewis-Jones (Thames and Hudson)

  • The Hidden Tracks’, Cam Honan (Gestalten)

  • Wonders: Spectacular Moments in Nature Photography, Rhonda Rubinstein and California Academy of Sciences (Chronicle Books)

  • Maps of London and Beyond, Adam Dant, foreword by The Gentle Author (Pavilion Books)

  • Escape by Bike: Adventure Cycling, Bikepacking and Touring Off-Road, Joshua Cunningham (Thames and Hudson)

  • The Golden Atlas: The Greatest Explorations, Quests and Discoveries on Maps, Edward Brooke-Hitching (Simon & Schuster)

Travel Food & Drink Book of the Year

A shortlist of cookbooks or non-fiction food writing focused on a particular national cuisine or telling of food related exploration/travel which capture a true sense of the place's identity and culture:

  • Pasta Pane Vino: Deep Travels Through Italy's Food Culture, Matt Goulding (Hardie Grant)

  • Copenhagen Food, Trine Hahnemann, Photography by Columbus Leth (Quadrille, Hardie Grant)

  • Shetland: Cooking on the Edge of the World, James & Tom Morton, Photography by Andy Sewell (Quadrille, Hardie Grant)

  • Black Sea: Dispatches and Recipes – Through Darkness and Light, Caroline Eden (Quadrille, Hardie Grant)

  • Nightingales and Roses: Recipes from the Persian Kitchen, Maryam Sinaiee (Head of Zeus)

  • Khazana: A Treasure Trove of Indo-Persian Recipes Inspired by the Mughals, Saliha Mahmood Ahmed (Hodder & Stoughton)

Travel Memoir of the Year

  • The Crossway, Guy Stagg (Picador, Pan Macmillan)

  • Step By Step: The Life in My Journeys, Simon Reeve (Hodder & Stoughton)

  • Thinking on my Feet: The Small Joy of Putting One Foot in Front of Another, Kate Humble (Aster, Octopus Books)

  • In Extremis: The Life of War Correspondent Marie Colvin, Lindsey Hilsum (Chatto & Windus)

  • The Salt Path, Raynor Winn (Michael Joseph)

  • Skybound: A Journey In Flight, Rebecca Loncraine (Picador, Pan Macmillan)

Bradt Travel Guides New Travel Writer of the Year

  • Breathtaking Bryce by Moira Ashley

  • Reflections of Dubai by Celia Dillow

  • Through the Blue by Hannah Doyle

  • Unexpected Sunlight by Amanda Huggins

First prize for the Bradt Travel Guides New Travel Writer of the Year award is a fantastic three-night winter break for two in Lapland at the Wilderness Hotel Inari, courtesy of Wexas, and a commission to write an article about the prize trip for publication in Wexas’ Traveller magazine. All four finalists win a place on the next Bradt Travel Writing Seminar (run in conjunction with Travellers’ Tales, the UK’s leading training agency for aspiring travel writers).

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