Many of the world’s greatest travel writers gathered in the iconic London Transport Museum to celebrate the fifth Edward Stanford Travel Writing Awards (ESTWAs), hosted by television presenter and author Julia Bradbury, recently seen on ITV in The Greek Islands with Julia Bradbury.
Paul Theroux received the prestigious Edward Stanford Award for Outstanding Contribution to Travel Writing. The acclaimed American travel writer and novelist, best know for The Great Railway Bazaar (1975), has enjoyed a long career studded with accolades, awards and honours. A number of Theroux’s novels have been made into films and later this year Apple Films will release a ten part TV series based on his “Mosquito Coast”.
Vivien Godfrey, Chairman and Chief Executive of Stanfords, said “Paul has enjoyed a truly global existence, spending time in Malawi and Uganda, Singapore and London, as well as his native home in America. His travel writing consequently carries rich descriptions, portraying an intimate knowledge and understanding of the people and places he has been.”
“His epic trips, undertaken on foot, by road, and rail - and on occasion in a kayak - embody the spirit of a true adventurer and that is at the very heart of all we do at Stanfords – many congratulations and well deserved Paul.” Previous winners of this category include Colin Thubron, Bill Bryson, Michael Palin and Jan Morris.
In total 61 books made the shortlists, divided into ten awards categories with winners being both debut authors and multi-award-winning writers. The judging panel included explorer Benedict Allen, authors Jonathan Lorie, Julia Wheeler and Nick Hunt, magazine editors Jane Anderson (Family Traveller) and Amy Sohanpaul (Wexas’ Traveller magazine), and contributing editor Phoebe Smith (Wanderlust), the President of the Booksellers’ Association Nic Bottomley, bloggers Paul Cheney and Tim Hannigan as well as Tina Hartas, MD of Trip Fiction website, members of the Authors’ Club, WHSmith and Waterstones’ buyers and the senior Stanfords team.
Stanford Dolman Travel Book of the Year, in association with the Authors’ Club was awarded to Robert Macfarlane for his thrilling Underland. The book takes the reader on a deep journey into the worlds beneath our feet. Macfarlane is known for his long-term exploration of landscape and the human-heart, and Underland is an epic decent into a series of underground and underwater landscapes. Runner up for the Stanford Dolman Travel Book of the Year was Pravda Ha Ha by Rory Mclean and the judges also highly commended No Friend But the Mountains by Behrouz Boochani, translated by Omid Tofighian.
In the Gandy’s Children’s Travel Book of the Year, Chloe Daykin won the award for Fire Girl, Forest Boy, a toe-tingling, heart-tugging and thrilling adventure set in the lush landscape of the Peruvian rainforest. This fast paced, danger filled adventure of a young Scottish girl Maya and Puruvian native boy Raul will delight young readers.
Picking up the highly coveted Kerb Food and Drink Travel Book of the Year award was Eleanor Ford with Fire Islands. An enchanting cookbook full of Indonesian inspiration and cuisine which gives an intimate portrait of the country and its cooking.
Sam Landers and Tom Maday, editors of Trope London, were awarded the Nikon Photography Travel Book of the Year for their second volume in the Trope City Editions series. A carefully curated collection of 199 stunning photographs of London offering readers a fresh perspective on the great city. Each of the nine chapters is accompanied by a map with the locations of the photographs logged from the heights of the London Eye to deep within the underground.
DK Eyewitness Travel Guides Illustrated Travel Book of the Year was won by Travis Elborough for his visually stunning Atlas of Vanishing Places. Taking the reader on a voyage to all corners of the world in search of the lost, disappeared and vanished.
International bestselling and prize winning author Nicholas Butler won the Cicerone Fiction, with a Sense of Place award for his moving novel Little Faith. The novel tells the story of parents who are forced to choose between their daughter and grandson as the family grapples with the power and limitations of faith when one of their own falls under the influence of a radical church.
APA Publications Travel Memoir of the Year went to Pico Iyer for this brilliantly enlightening A Beginner’s Guide to Japan: Observations and Provocations. Having spent thirty-two years in Japan, Pico is able to present a pocket compendium of the oddities and marvels of Japanese life and culture.
Lara Prior-Palmer picked up the award for the Steppes Travel Adventure Travel Book of the Year with her fascinating and addictive memoir Rough Magic: Riding the World’s Wildest Horse Race. The story is an inspiring saga of immense perseverance and physical hardship, rising from the underdog to become the champion.
Lonely Planet Debut Travel Writer of the Year went to Richard Davies for his intimate and analytical Extreme Economies. The premise of the book is that to understand how humans react and adapt to economic change, we need to study people living in extreme or harsh environments from death row prisoners, to the world’s largest refugee camp. Extreme Economies tells individual stories that help to shed light on one of today’s biggest economic questions.
Close to Home by Kirstin Zhang received the Bradt Travel Guides New Travel Writer of the Year. The Scottish mum fought off tough competition in this popular unpublished award category.
Guests enjoyed bespoke gin cocktails created for the evening by Seven Crofts Gin and dined on ‘World Street Food’ inspired canapés.
Each winner was presented with a hand-made globe featuring a design produced exclusively for the ESTWAs.