Awards 2012 Travel Book of the Year
Travcom Travel Book of the Year AwardThe Travcom Travel Book of the Year Award was judged by a panel of three: writer, editor, book promoter, and teacher Dorothy Vinicombe; TV7 journalist, book reviewer and interviewer Finlay MacDonald; and writer, public relations consultant and Board member of New Zealand Book Month Paul Hewlett, whose first novel Moonzoo (fictionland, 2003) was one of New Internationalistís 2004 Books of the Year.
The judges enjoyed reading the nine diverse entries immensely and commented that the range and variety of books was impressive.
The awards were presented at a gala dinner held at the Heritage Auckland Grand Tearoom on Tuesday 20 March 2012. The Travcom Travel Book of the Year Award is presented for the best original book of creative travel writing about any country, including New Zealand, and is run by Travcom (NZ Travel Communicators), whose aim is to encourage and improve travel writing.
The book entries were a diverse selection, from an e-book to a masterful history of New Zealand train journeys and various intimate self-published travel memoirs. The best of these were distinguished by their ambition to rise above the mere retelling of a journey, to develop a theme and offer a more reflective account of what it means to travel, and to be a traveller. All of the entrants can be proud of what they have achieved, but our choice of winner was clear and unanimous.
Winner: ĎGods of the Stonesí by Peter Riordan (Bateman)Among a diverse selection of titles, one book stood out from the rest. Peter Riordanís ambitious goal was to retrace the steps of English journalist and writer H V Morton, whose blockbuster trilogy on the Middle East, published in the 1930s, shaped the way many in the West think about the lands of the Bible. Riordanís journey, referencing Mortonís writing, is related in a lively and literary manner, revealing not only how much the region has changed (or not) since Mortonís time, but also providing a vivid backdrop to the current events we know as Ďthe Arab Springí. Relieved of the religious overtones of Mortonís work, Gods of the Stones provides fascinating contemporary insight into the places and societies in which many stories from the New Testament are set. Above all, the book contains many instances of fine writing. For example:
ďAfter a few hours the plain shrank before the encroaching hills. I could see dry wadis splashed with the green of a handful of tamarisks. Glaciers of sand spilled down gullies. A manganese factory expelled powder into the air. Then the road had no choice but to mount the hard brown hills that barred our way. We wound inland and the dull brown gave way to a quite outlandish palette of purple, mauve, rose-red and yellow. White stones lay about like snow. What had possessed nature to cast aside all its restraint? Morton confessed to never having set eyes on such colours in mountains. The mountains had heaved and shook themselves clear of the ground, leaving exposed bands of rock soaring and plunging in frozen confusion.Ē (Gods of the Stones, p 122)
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Highly Commended: Pat DeavollThe story of New Zealandís leading woman mountaineer is frank, revealing depiction of a life devoted to a singular and challenging passion. More memoir than literary travel book, the judges nonetheless wanted to acknowledge a book that readers who enjoy biography or autobiography, or who share a love of the great outdoors will find rewarding.
Pat Deavoll is clearly a very good climber, but on the evidence here she is also a talented writer whose adventurous spirit is captured sensitively and appealingly in this book.
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The nine books entered this year and published in 2011 include:
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For further information about any articles or the writers on this website please contact Travcom Administrator Helen Davies on Ph: (09) 624 5707