Paul Theroux has received this year’s top prize at the Edward Stanford Travel Writing Awards, winning the Outstanding Contribution to Travel Writing Award.
The award, announced tonight at a London ceremony, honours one author’s contribution to travel writing over time. The American travel writer and novelist best known for The Great Railway Bazaar (Penguin, 1975) has won numerous awards throughout a long career including the 1978 Whitbread Prize (now Costa) for best novel Picture Palace (Mariner). Apple TV will also this year release a 10-part TV series based on his James Tait Black Memorial Prize-winning Mosquito Coast (Penguin). Previous winners include Colin Thubron, Bill Bryson, Michael Palin and Jan Morris.
Stanfords chairman and c.e.o. Viven Godfrey said: “Paul has enjoyed a truly global existence. 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.”
Sixty-one books comprised this year's Edward Stanford Travel Writing Awards (ESTWAs) shortlist, divided into 10 categories. The judging panel comprised explorer Benedict Allen, authors Jonathan Lorie, Julia Wheeler and Nick Hunt, magazine editors Jane Anderson (Family Traveller) and Amy Sohanpaul (Wexas’ Traveller magazine), contributing editor Phoebe Smith (Wanderlust), president of the Booksellers Association Nic Bottomley, bloggers Paul Cheney and Tim Hannigan, m.d. of Trip Fiction website Tina Hartas, members of the Authors’ Club, W H Smith and Waterstones’ buyers, and the senior Stanfords team.
Penguin led this year’s list with four winners. Robert Mcfarlane’s Underland took home the Stanford Dolman Travel Book of Year award. Lonely Planet Debut Travel Writer of the Year was scooped by Richard Davies for Extreme Economies and Lara Prior-Palmer picked up the award for the Steppes Travel Adventure Travel Book of the Year with Rough Magic: Riding the World’s Wildest Horse Race.
Independents also saw a strong year with the Kerb Food and Drink Travel Book of the Year awarded to Eleanor Ford’s Fire Islands (Murdoch), Gandy’s Children’s Travel Book of the Year scooped by Chloe Daykin for Fire Girl, Forest Boy (Faber & Faber) and Travel Memoir of the Year going to Pico Lyer for A Beginner’s Guide to Japan: Observations and Provocations (Bloomsbury). Editors of Trope London Sam Landers and Tom Maday were awarded the Nikon Photography Travel Book of the Year for their second volume in the Trope City Editions series.
Other awards including DK Eyewitness Travel Guides Illustrated Travel Book of the Year went to Travis Elborough for Atlas of Vanishing Places (White Lion Publishing) and Cicerone Fiction, with the Sense of Place Prize going to Nicholas Butler for Little Faith (Ecco). Kirstin Zhang took home Bradt Travel Guides New Travel Writer of the Year for unpublished writers for Close to Home.