World-class travel writers gathered to witness Colin Thubron CBE receive the prestigious Edward Stanford Award for Outstanding Contribution to Travel Writing. An acclaimed British travel writer and novelist for nearly five decades, his books have been translated into more than 20 languages making him a truly global travel writer.
Vivien Godfrey, Chairman and Chief Executive of Stanfords, said “Colin has always written about rarely visited parts of our planet. At Stanfords we pride ourselves on bringing the world to our customers and his writings and vivid descriptions of remote and inaccessible locations do just that.
“He writes in a magical way allowing the reader to feel truly immersed in the sights, smells and sounds of each place he’s visited – congratulations Colin.” Previous winners of this category include Bill Bryson, Michael Palin and Jan Morris.
In total 42 books made the shortlist, divided into seven awards categories with winners being both debut authors and multi-award-winning writers. The judging panel included explorer Benedict Allen, author Horatio Clare, Vanity Fair travel editor Michelle Jana Chan and Wanderlust editor-at-large Phoebe Smith.
The Stanford Dolman Travel Book of the Year was awarded to William Atkins for The Immeasurable World, a book based around seven desert journeys. His evocative writings include geographical as well as political dimensions, and stories of human kind within these arid settings.
In the Ordnance Survey Children’s Travel Book of the Year, micro adventurer Alastair Humphreys picked up the award for Alastair Humphreys’ Great Adventurers, a self-selected collection of twenty intrepid journeys illustrated by Kevin Ward. Young and old, male and female and with varying abilities, the heroic explorers depicted are sure to inspire young minds and ignite adventurous imaginations.
Picking up the highly coveted Travel Food and Drink Book of the Year award was Caroline Eden with Black Sea. Caroline’s meticulously researched book clearly demonstrates her love affair with the region, interspersed with beautiful photography and glorious food and recipes which span the rich, interconnecting culinary cities of Odessa, Trabzon & Istanbul.
Debut novelist Novuyo Rosa Tshuma won the Fiction, with a Sense of Place award for her impressive, evocative and highly unusual Zimbabwean novel House of Stone. The playful, often painful narrative takes a series of unexpected turns, keeping the reader engrossed in often shocking African politics and history.
Travel Memoir of the Year went to Guy Stagg for The Crossway, the account of his pilgrimage from Canterbury to Jerusalem. Stagg set off on a journey hoping to heal years of mental illness and the result of his travelogue is a moving and thought-provoking insight into the minds - and often homes - of modern day believers.
Dr Huw Lewis –Jones, a historian of exploration and photography, was awarded the Photography and Illustrated Travel Book of the Year for The Writer’s Map. This fantastical collection of maps, sketches and drawings fuelled some of the greatest writers of all time. Leafing through the rich and vibrant pages, readers are taken on a journey through different dimensions; sci-fi and fantasy as well as maps integral to literary classics, nursery stories and legendary comics.
Adam Weymouth picked up the award for the Lonely Planet Adventure Travel Book of the Year with his highly descriptive Kings of the Yukon, following his 2,000 mile canoe journey along the largest salmon run in the world. Expertly woven into his narrative are the natives, traditions and cultures he meets along the route to give us a colourful understanding of the once plentiful salmon so sadly now in decline.
‘Reflections of Dubai’ by Celia Dillow received the Bradt Travel Guides New Travel Writer of the Year. Celia brilliantly depicts a city of juxtapositions – mirrored glass and desert mirages, boundless wealth and stuttered developments, sterile air con and sweltering heat. The reader gets an understanding of this glistening UAE city expertly built in the desert, but only a sandstorm away from being reclaimed by the sand.
The awards were held at Unit London in Mayfair. Exploration themed cocktails were served by Mr Fogg’s, in partnership with Metaxa, and guests enjoyed a ‘World Street Food’ inspired dinner. Each winner was presented with a hand-made globe featuring a design produced exclusively for the ESTWAs.