What to read: the Edward Stanford Travel Writing Awards 2023 winner and shortlist
This year’s winner of the annual Edward Stanford Travel Writing Awards is Silvia Vasquez-Lavado for her courageous travel memoir In The Shadow of the Mountain, one of many inspirational journeys on the shortlist.
This year’s winner of the annual Edward Stanford Travel Writing Awards is Silvia Vasquez-Lavado for her courageous travel memoir In The Shadow of the Mountain. The accolade was revealed on Thursday 16 March, 2023, at Stanfords book store in central London. This year's shortlist included some seriously inspirational journeys taking in such diverse destinations as Iran, the Himalayas, Bolivia and the High Atlas. Undertaken in all manner of ways — on foot, by boat, vintage Land Rover and led by camels —several titles incorporate a personal journey, delving back into complex family histories that prove challenging and life-changing.
Celebrating the world’s best travel writing, the awards take their name from Edward Stanford, founder of the travel books and map shop established in London in 1853, and they were judged this year by authors Colin Thubron, Sunny Singh, Julia Wheeler, Lois Pryce, Caroline Eden and journalists Ash Bhardwaj and Jeremy Bassetti.
THE WINNER: In the Shadow of the Mountain
Peruvian Silvia Vasquez-Lavado returns home to face her demons, and discovers a passion for climbing that takes her across the Seven Summits. Taking on Everest with a group of troubled young women, this is a travelogue that’s about more than conquering tough terrain. Octopus Publishing Group, £16.99.
1. Walking with Nomads
Adventurer and TV presenter Alice Morrison carries readers on three epic journeys across Morocco, taking in the Sahara and Atlas Mountains accompanied by three Amazigh Muslim men and their camels. Alice’s tale reveals the transformative nature of travel in some of the world’s harshest terrains. Simon & Schuster, £20.00
2. High: A Journey Across the Himalayas through Pakistan, India, Bhutan, Nepal and China
This high-altitude odyssey takes in the peaks and people who live and work in the world’s tallest mountain range. Erika Fatland takes a journey that enables the region’s landscapes, histories and hidden communities to step into the spotlight. Quercus, £30.
3. My Family and Other Enemies: Life and Travels in Croatia’s Hinterland
Journalist Mary Novakovich journeys into the hinterland of Croatia to explore both her ongoing relationship with the region of Lika in central Croatia, where her parents were born and she summered as a child, and the complex history and rich culture of this little-explored Balkan region. Bradt, £9.99.
4. The Po: An Elegy for Italy’s Longest River
Italy-based British author and journalist Tobias Jones travels along the 405-mile length of the Po — Virgil’s ‘king of rivers’. Along the waterway, he gathers stories of battles, cuisines, religions and music lost to time and paints a picture of the quirks and oddities of contemporary Italy. Head of Zeus, £25.00.
5. The Last Overland: Singapore to London: The Return Journey of the Iconic Land Rover Expedition
This travelogue is inspired by Tim Slessor’s 1955 expedition from London to Singapore. Alex Bescoby recreated that journey in reverse, travelling some 19,000 miles in the same Oxford Land Rover. Michael O’Mara Books, £20.
6. Crossed Off the Map: Travels in Bolivia
Combining travel writing, history and reportage, Shafik Meghji explores how a country often overlooked by the world has impacted cultures worldwide, noting its unexpected influence, say, on the Industrial Revolution in Europe and the dynastic collapse in China. Latin American Bureau, £14.95.
7. The Slow Road to Tehran: A Revelatory Bike Ride through Europe and the Middle East
A journey of discovery for one woman and her bike took Rebecca Lowe through Iran in 2015 as the Syrian war and refugee crisis raged. The book aims to shift perceptions of an often misunderstood part of the world. September Publishing, £18.99.
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