Friday 23 January 2009

Travel Scholarship winner announced

Message from World Nomad website:
"There has been an electrifying buzz surrounding this year's Travel Writing Scholarship, and with very good reason. We received over 340 entries, and you guys are talented travel writers!!

The judging panel have landed back on Terra Firma after being escorted on a virtual odyssey through the wonderful, bazaar, surprising, lump-in-throat-sad, and the staggeringly beautiful worlds created by each scholarship applicant.

Congratulations to everyone who shared their story....our judges said the top 5 were ALL exceptional and it was very difficult to separate the winner......but I know you just want RESULTS!

And the winner is......

Jessica Lee

David Stott (our mentor) said of Jessica's story;"It was extremely hard to separate the top five, but Jessica took the prize for several reasons. First, her fantastic pen portrait of rush hour in Cairo put me right in the moment, as the distorted roar of the muezzins ("Even in prayer Cairo is deafening") rose into the sky above the car horns. Second, she did a great job of evoking the moment that fortunate and patient travellers sometimes get to experience, of coming to feel at home in a foreign place. Her comment to the gridlocked taxi driver ("You need a louder horn") was sardonic, sympathetic and funny. Though there's always room for a little extra polish, Jessica's writing shows loads of potential and, just as importantly, passion for the work, and I'm confident she'll grab this opportunity with both hands."

Our 4 runners up (in alphabetical order)
Sophie Ellis
David's comments;

"Sophie's story shone with enthusiasm, and vividly illustrated the traveller's internal journey from outsider to insider. With some effective use of multisensory imagery – fish scales glinting in the sun, tarpaulin flaps beating on a car door - she did a great job of carrying me with her right to the arid Portuguese hills. A glittering future surely awaits."
Read Sophie's story below

Toby Nowlan
David's comments;"Toby's story tricks you into thinking it's a rollicking yarn about tribal gents with unusual tastes in body adornment, but the comic tone sets up a serious issue that confronts travellers in wilder parts of the world: the impact of deforestation and modernisation on indigenous cultures. It's one of the key issues that responsible travel tries to address, and therefore represents an excellent choice of topic for this competition. Having given us a taste of their lives, Toby's poignant ending leaves us hoping that the world can find a place for the Sarawak forests - and the tribes and spirits that call them home."

Elliot Norton
David's comments;"Elliot did a superb job of obeying the First Rule of Writing: make the editor's job easy. His grammar is spot on, his story rolls along at a well-judged pace, and he allows his characters (introduced by name – always a good idea) to unfold by showing us, not merely telling us, who they are. He also shows a healthy regard for the often enigmatic culture of Aboriginal Australia."

Rebecca Wicks
"I loved Rebecca's depiction of the chaotic street life in Jaipur, and in particular the vignette of the rickshaw driver asleep on his vehicle. She also demonstrates a nifty turn of phrase: the motorbikes weaving through traffic "like needles knitting death certificates" was the most extraordinary phrase I read in the entire judging process. With talent like this, and the resourcefulness her life story demonstrates, Rebecca definitely has the makings of a successful travel writer."
Click here to read the successful entries.

River Nila initiative amongst India's "very best" 5 Sustainable Tourism initiatives

From the Footprint India guidebook 2009 :
" In a country of a billion people, conservation efforts can only succeed when they bring real, tangible, benefits to local communities, while ecotourism worthy of the name also has to provide you, the travellers, with an unforgettable experience.

The following ventures in sustainable tourism are among India's very best."The Blue Yonder, River Nila, Kerala.The river Nila flows through some of Kerala's richest scenic and cultural landscapes, exercising a Ganges-like influence over the spiritual and artistic life of northern Kerala. The Blue Yonder, tours, born of a desire to halt degradation of the river, have had a transformative effect on local culture. Journeying by jeep, hand-propelled thoni boat and bamboo raft, passionate local guides introduce guests to classical musicians, snake worshippers and sand miners, and decade unforgettable folk performances a million miles removed from the tourist spectacles proffered by the big resorts. In doing so, the tours demonstrate- to the locals as much as travellers - that the river and its traditions are integral elements of a sustainable, fruitful future. "