The Edward Stanford Travel Writing Awards have pitted two Man Booker winners against one another with Life of Pi author Yann Martel and Julian Barnes both shortlisted for its Fiction Book of the Year prize.
The awards, launched in 2015, seek to celebrate the best travel writing and travel writers in the world, across a number of cateogies - fiction, adventure travel, children's, food, travel book of the year and innovation in travel publishing.
Canadian author and 2002-Booker winner Martel is shortlisted for The High Mountains of Portugal (Canongate), a story described as "part quest, part ghost story, part contemporary fable" and spanning 50 years. Barnes, who won the same prize in 2011, is in the running for The Noise of Time (Jonathan Cape) about Soviet composer Dmitri Shostakovich.
Up for the same Stanford's award is Madeleine Thien for Do Not Say We Have Nothing (Granta), which was the bookies' favourite to win 2016's Man Booker that was ultimately won by Paul Beatty's The Sellout (Oneworld).
The Specsavers Fiction (with a sense of place) shortlist is rounded off by two titles from Picador - The Muse (Picador) by bestselling author Jessie Burton, and The Tobacconist by Robert Seethaler, translated by Charlotte Collins (Picador) - and To the Bright Edge of the World (Tinder) by Eowyn Ivey, with settings across the list spanning Alaska, Austria, China, Portugal, Spain and the former USSR.
Lyn Hughes, co-founder of Wanderlust magazine and chair of judges for the category, said: “Setting is a vital aspect of any novel; writers are granted all flights of fancy when it comes to character or plot, but if they are unable to transport the reader to their chosen locale, to bring the sights, sounds and smells of their characters’ surroundings to life, they will have failed. Our shortlisted writers have succeeded brilliantly, creating vividly portrayed backdrops around the world and across the centuries.”
Tony Maher, managing director of Edward Stanford Limited, said: “As the world grows smaller and in many cases more dangerous, travel writing in all its forms keeps us in touch with our global family. These disparate shortlists have one unifying feature – they are all marvellous examples of what travel writing and publishing does best, which is to show the reader a world far from our own doorsteps, made reachable by these glorious, powerful and unforgettable books.”
In contention for the Wanderlust Adventure Travel Book of the Year, British explorer Levison Wood, presently going into his third series with Channel 4, goes head to head with broadcaster and athlete Mark Beaumont. Wood appears on the list for Walking the Himalayas: An Adventure of Survival and Endurance (Hodder & Stoughton) while long-distance cyclist Beaumont is shortlisted for Africa Solo (Bantam Press), about his record-breaking ride across Africa. The cycling theme for the shortlist continues with Dare to Do: Taking on the Planet by Bike and Boat by Sarah Outen (Nicholas Brealey) and Cycling the Earth by Sean Conway (Ebury). Crossing the Congo: Over Land and Water in a Hard Place by Mike Martin, Chloe Baker and Charlie Hatch-Barnwell (C. Hurst & Co) and Climbing Days by Dan Richards (Faber & Faber) complete the shortlist. Phoebe Smith, Wanderlust editor and chair of judges for the category, said: “This shortlist is a tribute to the human spirit of endeavour and adventure, containing not just thrills and spills but inspiration on every page.”
In children's, competing for National Book Tokens Children’s Travel Book of the Year, folk tales, language and wildlife feature heavily, while representing a diverse spread of publishers. The shortlist comprises: Atlas of Oddities by Clive Gifford & Tracy Worrall (Red Shed); Atlas of Animal Adventures by Lucy Letherland, Rachel Williams and Emily Hawkins (Wide Eyed Editions); Hello World: A Celebration of Languages and Curiosities by Jonathan Litton and L’Atelier Cartographik (360 Degrees); A River by Marc Martin (Templar); A Year Full of Stories: 52 Folk Tales and Legends from Around the World by Angela McAllister and Christopher Corr (Frances Lincoln Children’s Books); and A Walk on the Wild Side by Louis Thomas (Frances Lincoln Children’s Books).
Recipes from around the world, including Iran, Pakistan and Ibiza, make up the Food and Travel Book of the Year shortlist. In the running are: Persepolis: Vegetarian Recipes from Peckham, Persia and Beyond by Sally Butcher (Pavilion); The Saffron Tales: Recipes from the Persian Kitchen by Yasmin Khan (Bloomsbury); Provence to Pondicherry: Recipes from France and Faraway by Tessa Kiros (Quadrille); Eivissa: The Ibiza Cookbook by Anne Sijmonsbergen (HarperCollins); Rick Stein’s Long Weekends by Rick Stein (BBC Books); and Summers Under the Tamarind Tree: Recipes and Memories from Pakistan by Sumayya Usmani (Frances Lincoln).
Immersing readers in wonderous landscapes and countries that don't exist, the Illustrated Travel Book of the Year shortlist comprsies: Explorer’s Sketchbooks: The Art of Discovery and Adventure by Huw Lewis-Jones and Kari Herbert (Thames and Hudson); The Travel Book: A Journey Through Every Country in the World (Lonely Planet); An Atlas of Countries That Don’t Exist by Nick Middleton (Macmillan); This Land: Landscape Wonders of Britain by Roly Smith and Joe Cornish (Frances Lincoln); Britain’s Tudor Maps: County by County by John Speed (Batsford); and The Un-Discovered Islands: An Archipelago of Myths, Mysteries, Phantoms and Fates by Malachy Tallack and Katie Scott (Polygon).
The London Book Fair Innovation in Travel Publishing prize shortlists two titles from Particular Books, Where the Animals Go: Tracking Wildlife with Technology in 50 Maps and Graphics by James Cheshire and Oliver Uberti and quirky guide to London Curiocity: In Pursuit of London by Henry Eliot and Matt Lloyd-Rose; two series, the Lonely Planet Best of series (Lonely Planet) and the Citix60 series by Victionary (Gingko Press); plus Blue Crow Media Maps (Blue Crow Media) and Atlas Obscura by Joshua Foer, Dylan Thuras and Ella Morton (Workman).
The shortlist for the Stanford Dolman Travel Book of the Year, in association with the Authors’ Club, will be announced on 17th January at the Edward Stanford Travel Writing Awards launch party at the National Liberal Club.
The winners of all categories, as well as the Lonely Planet Travel Blog of the Year and Bradt Travel Guides New Travel Writer of the Year, and the Edward Stanford Award for Outstanding Contribution to Travel Writing (last year won by Bill Bryson) will be revealed on 2nd February during the Stanfords Travel Writers Festival at Destinations: The Holiday and Travel Show at Olympia. The awards will be supported by a trade-wide travel books instore promotion at booksellers and libraries from 6th January until 24th February
The Winner of the Stanford Dolman Travel Book of the year receives £5,000 and all winners receive an antique globe trophy, to be presented at the awards ceremony.
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