Winners of Stanfords' Travel Writing Awards 2016 have been announced. Stanfords' Jude Brosnan gives the lowdown on the 7 best books of the year, including Wanderlust's choice for Adventure Travel Book of the Year
If you’ve been watching his recent Channel 4 documentary Walking the Americas, you would be forgiven for thinking Walking the Himalayas was a lifetime ago. It was, in fact, just a year before.
Including his first book Walking the Nile, Levison Wood has been embarking on an epic expedition per year, already putting him on par with some of the great travel writers in history.
His journey across the entire length of the Himalayas isn’t without trials. But his descriptions of the Silk Route and the sights he sees en route to Bhutan are unforgettable, and his 1700-mile ‘walk’ is a true test of strength.
Buy it here: www.stanfords.co.uk/Where-the-Animals-Go
Following on from the popularity of their last book London: The Information Capital, James Cheshire and Oliver Uberti’s Where the Animals Go innovatively explains the life patterns of animals using modern scientific tracking techniques, including GPS, drones, satellites, apps and data processing.
With ariel photography, different examples of cartography and wonderful explanations, we learn a great deal about the history, habitats and lifestyles of different animals.
Chapters include ‘The Elephant Who Texted for Help’, ‘The Jaguars Taking Selfies’ and ‘The Wales we Watch on Facebook’, the humour included making the information easy to digest. This book is more than just informative. It’s also beautiful.
The Stanford Dolman Travel Book of the Year
Julian Sayarer's previous two books saw him cycle a huge amount, first breaking a record and cycling around the world in Life Cycles and then around London giving us an insight to the life of a bicycle courier in Messengers.
In Interstate, Julian Sayarer finds himself at a loose end in New York after a documentary he was commissioned to do gets cancelled. He uses this thwarting of his plans as an excuse to hitchhike across America and sees the country from a different perspective than we are used to in travel writing, showing the more gritty side of towns and often the vastness of the landscape.
This book seems to be gaining more significance during the current political climate and Sayerer voices the concerns of many.
No stranger to a shortlist, having also been in the running for the Man Booker Prize and winning a number of other literary awards, Do Not Say We Have Nothing by Madeleine Thien has received deserved rave reviews.
Set in 1990s Canada, the character Ai-Ming has fled China in the aftermath of the Tiananmen Square protests. She tells her hosts about the early days of Chairman Mao’s ascent to the Shanghai Conservatory up to the events of the Beijing demonstrations.
Thien manages to infuse historical facts into this novel with such tenderness and sensitivity that you truly feel informed and have a genuine interest in the characters and their stories. It is clear that this book is set to become a classic.
This is so much more than a recipe book. It is also a sort of travel guide and a journal.
With France famously being a central source of international cooking, it is inevitable that recipes will begin in France then make their way to other kitchens and homes around the world, and on their way will receive additional ingredients typical of other places and cultures that add a certain something.
With hundreds of easy to follow recipes, this book celebrates the diversity of food and shows what a mixture of cultures can create in terms of new dishes from old classics.
National Book Tokens'
Children’s Travel Book of the Year
What a wonderful way to see the world: using animal facts and pictures. This atlas shows the seven continents and explains how different animals survive in their environments, and how they each have a unique place in our world.
Additional learning tools include fact boxes and a ‘Can You Find?’ section.
The wonderfully vintage-style illustrations make this book a seamlessly perfect example of a collaboration between illustrator and writer. London-based illustrator Katie Scott also illustrated Botanicum and the best-selling Animalium.
With over 38k followers on Instagram, her work is gaining a cult following of fans who love her work, which pays homage to the botanical drawings one might see in places like Kew Gardens.
Glasgow-based Malachy Tallack, author of Sixty Degrees North, is also a singer/ songwriter and his explanations of these mysterious and forgotten places are as beautiful as the accompanying illustrations.
All in all, these two are a ridiculously cool pair. Hopefully this isn’t the last book we see them working on together.
Main image: Levison Wood