Ex-soldier and novelist Jan Morris CBE has been recognised for her outstanding contribution to travel writing by The Edward Stanford Travel Writing Awards, while Kapka Kassabova was honoured with the Stanford Dolman Travel Book of the Year for Border (Granta).
Having spent more than half her life travelling, writing more than 40 books and countless essays, articles and reviews, Morris has been described as "the greatest descriptive writer of her time". Her next book, Battleship Yamato, an illustrated tribute to the Imperial Japanese battleship Yamato, and the splendor, heroism and waste of war it represents, is publishing on 1st March.
Accepting her award, Morris said: “What I’m writing about is not the journey or the travel or even to some extent the place, but the effect of a place upon a particular individual’s sensibility… Thank you so much for my [award]. It is a beautiful thing and very suitable for me as it represents the world I have spent my time looking at and thinking about.”
Katherine Rundell with Orna O’Brien and presenter Paul Blezzard (©MLR Photo)
The Stanford Dolman Travel Book of the Year, in partnership with The Authors' Club, was awarded to Kassabova for Border (Granta), a "highly topical" portrait of the little-explored borderland between Bulgaria, Turkey and Greece – the latest to receive refugees fleeing conflict further afield. Meeting treasure hunters, entrepreneurs, psychic healers, refugees and smugglers, Kassabova reveals the secrets of the region and its culture through its physical and psychological history.
Sara Wheeler, chair of judges for the Stanford Dolman Award, said that the title stood out to the judges because of the author’s "old-fashioned gift for storytelling, her beautiful prose, and the topicality of the subject as Europe stands once more on the cusp of change". She added: "We think it is an important book.”
Taking home the award for Hayes & Jarvis Fiction with a Sense of Place was Tristan Hughes, whose latest novel Hummingbird (Parthian), an emotional journey through the Canadian wilderness, shone out against competition from titles including Nicole Dennis-Benn’s Here Comes the Sun (Oneworld) and Min Jin Lee’s Pachinko (Head of Zeus).
Tristan Hughes with TV presenter Julia Bradbury (©MLR Photo)
The Marco Polo Outstanding General Travel Themed Book of the Year was awarded to Per. J. Andersson for his part reportage, part travel narrative and part memoir The Amazing Story of the Man Who Cycled from India to Europe for Love (Oneworld) translated by Anna Holmwood; and the Wanderlust Adventure Travel Book of the Year went to Shark Drunk (Cape) by Morten Strøksnes translated by Tiina Nunnally, a tale of two men on a mission to trail the Greenland shark said to hypnotise its prey.
The Explorer by Katherine Rundell and illustrated by Hannah Horn (Bloomsbury), recent winner of the Costa Children’s Book Award, struck again in the London Book Fair Children's Travel Book of the Year category, introducing children to the art of adventure through the Amazon rainforest. Londonist Mapped by AA Publishing was awarded the Destinations Show Photography & Illustrated Travel Book of the Year.
Sustainability was championed in the Food and Travel Magazine Travel Cookery Book of the Year, recognising Bart van Olphen, the world’s most sustainable seafood entrepreneur 2008, for Bart’s Fish Tales (Pavillion), a cookbook full of the stories behind sustainable fishing sites around the world, complete with photography from world-renowned photographer David Loftus.
Per J Andersson with Dr Pradyumna Kumar and his family (©MLR Photo)
Celebrating fresh new voices alongside established writers, the awards include the Bradt Travel Guides New Travel Writer of the Year which was this year awarded to Alan Packer for "The Village Sledge Run" which narrates his time in the first annual Kosovo snows, and the Lonely Planet Pathfinders Travel Blog of the Year which was won by Man Vs Globe.
Tony Maher, managing director of Edward Stanford Ltd, said: “We established these awards three years ago to celebrate all genres of travel writing – and specifically the Travel Writer, a group of very special individuals who devote their lives to cataloguing their adventures to entertain and enrich the lives of others.
"I do hope that this celebration of Travel Writing makes a difference to all the shortlisted and winning authors by giving their work some much-deserved recognition. Most importantly too, I hope that the raised awareness of their works will result in increased sales of their titles.”
The Awards were hosted on 1st February at the Stanfords Travel Writers Festival taking place at Destinations: The Holiday and Travel Show at Olympia. Each winner received an antique globe trophy.