Horatio Clare’s Down to the Sea in Ships (Chatto & Windus) was announced as the Stanford Dolman Travel Book of the Year yesterday (28th September) at an event at London’s National Liberal Club. Meanwhile Bill Bryson (pictured) was revealed as the winner of the inaugural Outstanding Contribution to Travel Writing prize.
Down to the Sea in Ships is an account of the "ordinary" men that place their lives in "extraordinary" danger on container ships on the high seas.
Prize chair, Barnaby Rogerson, said: “It is a book charged full of vim and passion. Filled with polished, near poetic prose, it is alert to labour as well as beauty, the loneliness of long-distance sea travel as well as the communities that form below deck, and are dissipated with each new voyage.”
Chris Schüler, outgoing chairman of the Authors’ Club, said: “Down to the Sea in Ships is a book entirely worthy of its place amongst the Stanford Dolman’s illustrious list of past victors. In this first year of our partnership with Stanfords, we couldn’t have hoped for a better choice from our judges to capture the essence of this vital prize - a work of true literary excellence and cultural importance.”
Clare was awarded £5,000 for winning the prize and a specially commissioned hand-made globe by “master” globe-makers Lander & May.
Travel author Bill Bryson, was also honoured with the Edward Stanford Award for Outstanding Contribution to Travel Writing.
Selected from public nominations by specialists at high street and independent bookshops, including Waterstones, Blackwell’s, Daunt Books and the Hungerford Bookshop, this is the first time the award has been presented.
Bryson said: "I am hugely honoured to receive this award particularly as it comes from booksellers, my favourite people on the whole planet.”
Tony Maher, managing director of Edward Stanford Limited, added: “Bill’s elegant, witty and amiable prose has been entertaining readers for many years. From adventures walking the Appalachian Trail, to defining the British better than any Brit has ever managed, he has a turn of phrase at once insightful and hilarious.
“The beauty in his writing is often its brevity and sincerity; it is understatedly, unassumingly powerful. I couldn’t be more thrilled that he is the first recipient of the Edward Stanford Award for Outstanding Contribution to Travel Writing, and commend the public and our bookselling partners on their choice.”
As well as receiving his own handmade globe trophy, Bryson’s name was inscribed on a commemorative globe which will go on permanent display at Stanfords, Covent Garden. The names of future winners will be added to the globe every year.
Maher also announced that the 2016 Edward Stanford Travel Writing Awards ceremony would move to coincide with the Stanfords Travel Writers Festival, which will take place at the Destinations Show, Olympia in February 2017.