The Edward Stanford Travel Writing Awards short list

11th January 2018

The Edward Stanford Travel Writing AwardsThe Edward Stanford Travel Writing Awards 2018 short list was announced last night at a special event at the National Liberal Club in London. There were nine different categories of travel writing represented:

1. Stanford Dolman Travel Book of the Year, in partnership with The Author’s Club, 2Hayes & Jarvis Fiction, with a Sense of Place, 3Wanderlust Adventure Travel Book of the Year, 4Food and Travel Magazine Travel Cookery Book of the Year, 5Destinations Show Photography & Illustrated Travel Book of the Year, 6. Marco Polo Outstanding General Travel Themed Book of the Year, 7London Book Fair Children’s Travel Book of the Year, 8Bradt Travel Guides New Travel Writer of the Year, 9Lonely Planet Pathfinders Travel blog of the Year

TripFiction attends the announcement at the National Liberal Club, London

A total of 43 books are featured! And many of them will be of interest to TripFiction readers! Well worth looking through the full lists…

For this blog, though, we will focus on the 6 books up for the Hayes & Jarvis Fiction, with a Sense of Place award – the essence of TripFiction.

Towards Mellbreak by Maria-Elsa Bragg

The Edward Stanford Travel Writing AwardsAfter many generations, it is now, in 1971, Harold who runs Ard Farm. Out on the fells, he feels his father’s presence, and there is hope that he, his grandmother and his Uncle Joe will be able to take the farm forward and prosper. But their way of life is under threat. Farming is undergoing huge change and increasingly harmful intervention. As the years pass, and Harold has a son of his own, he strives to keep control of his land, to make a go of it, even while forces he cannot understand are gradually destroying him…

Towards Mellbreak is a hymn both to the landscape of Cumbria and to a disappearing world. Poetic, beautiful and tragic, it gives an account of the struggle to preserve traditions and beliefs in the face of change. It is a quietly bold indictment of the treatment of generations of British men, and an assertion of the power to be found in the rituals we pass down through our families.

These Dividing Walls by Fran Cooper

In a forgotten corner of Paris stands a building. Within its walls, people talk and kiss, laugh and cry; some are glad to sit alone, while others wish they did not. A woman with silver-blonde hair opens her bookshop downstairs, an old man feeds the sparrows on his windowsill, and a young mother wills the morning to hold itself at bay. Though each of their walls touches someone else’s, the neighbours they pass in the courtyard remain strangers.Into this courtyard arrives Edward. Still bearing the sweat of a channel crossing, he takes his place in an attic room to wait out his grief.

But in distant corners of the city, as Paris is pulled taut with summer heat, there are those who meet with a darker purpose. As the feverish metropolis is brought to boiling point, secrets will rise and walls will crumble both within and without Number 37…

Here Comes the Sun by Nicole Dennis-Benn

In this radiant, highly anticipated debut, a cast of unforgettable women battle for independence while a maelstrom of change threatens their Jamaican village.Capturing the distinct rhythms of Jamaican life and dialect, Nicole Dennis-Benn pens a tender hymn to a world hidden among pristine beaches and the wide expanse of turquoise seas. At an opulent resort in Montego Bay, Margot hustles to send her younger sister, Thandi, to school. Taught as a girl to trade her sexuality for survival, Margot is ruthlessly determined to shield Thandi from the same fate.

When plans for a new hotel threaten the destruction of their community, each woman – fighting to balance the burdens she shoulders with the freedom she craves – must confront long-hidden scars. From a much-heralded new writer, Here Comes the Sun offers a dramatic glimpse into a vibrant, passionate world most outsiders see simply as paradise.

Hummingbird by Tristan Hughes

“What you could change and alter could never be finished or complete or dead. This is what I had been told back then, and what I had tried very hard to believe in since.”Beside a lake in the northern Canadian wilderness, fifteen year old Zachary Tayler lives a lonely and isolated life with his father. His only neighbours are a leech trapper, an eccentric millionaire, and an expert in snow. But then one summer the enigmatic and shape-shifting Eva Spiller arrives in search of the remains of her parents and together they embark on a strange and disconcerting journey of discovery. Nothing at Sitting Down Lake is quite as it seems. The forest hides ruins and mysteries; the past can never be fully understood. And as Zach and Eva make their way through this haunted landscape, they move ever closer towards an acceptance of what in the end is lost and what can truly be found.

Pachinko by Min Jin Lee

Yeongdo, Korea 1911. In a small fishing village on the banks of the East Sea, a club-footed, cleft-lipped man marries a fifteen-year-old girl. The couple have one child, their beloved daughter Sunja. When Sunja falls pregnant by a married yakuza, the family face ruin. But then Isak, a Christian minister, offers her a chance of salvation: a new life in Japan as his wife.

Following a man she barely knows to a hostile country in which she has no friends, no home, and whose language she cannot speak, Sunja’s salvation is just the beginning of her story.

Through eight decades and four generations, Pachinko is an epic tale of family, identity, love, death and survival.

The Bureau of Second Chances by Sheena Kalayil

Is going back the only way to start again? After more than thirty years in London, recently-widowed Thomas Imbalil returns to India. He spends his first months in uncluttered isolation in his house overlooking the Arabian Sea, in a small fishing village in Kerala. But when he agrees to look after his friend’s business, Chacko’s Optical Store, he meets and befriends Rani, the young assistant. Before long he discovers that Rani is using the store to run an intriguing side-business. He agrees to turn a blind eye to her operations until his friend returns, but this discovery makes him restless, and reminds him of the loneliness he is feeling and which lies ahead of him.
Rani also reveals herself as a much more complex individual than he had first imagined, and while he had envisaged a quiet re-acquaintance with his homeland, Thomas finds himself becoming more and more entangled with the lives of those around him.

Good luck to all those selected for the short list. Some great books, and it’s going to be a really difficult choice for the judges!

Tony for the TripFiction team

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