Archive for the 'Books' Category

This blog has been shamefully neglected over the past few months while I’ve been developing Deskbound Traveller, which is dedicated to travel storytelling. One of my objectives there is to broaden notions of what constitutes travel writing to let in, among other things, fiction and poetry. I’m not sure that The Spies, by the Brazilian […]

The winning picture in the “People” section of the 2013 iPhone Photography Annual Awards, published yesterday, is powerful enough in itself, but it struck me immediately as a homage, deliberate or unconscious, to what is perhaps the most famous portrait of 20th-century photography: Steve McCurry’s “Afghan girl”. McCurry has already recounted in National Geographic the […]

In London with no firm plans for the weekend? If you’re keen on travel and travel writing, you might enjoy the first Travel Festival at Kings Place, the arts centre near King’s Cross, which opens tomorrow. A Saturday evening session with Michael Palin, there to plug his new novel The Truth, is sold out, but […]

A week or so ago I heard the BBC’s political editor say that “We now have 27 leaders sat around a table…” This week I heard a BBC reporter say that “the two-year-old was sat watching television.” In John Lanchester’s novel Capital, I’ve just read the sentence “Shahid was stood at the sink with his […]

I’ve just come back from browsing in Waterstone’s in Wimbledon, where copies of George Orwell’s essay Politics and the English Language were stacked beside the tills. It’s coming up to 110 years since Orwell was born as Eric Blair (June 25), and, because media organisations like round numbers, he and his works are being celebrated […]

My book of 2012? It was one published in 2006, which I discovered at Delhi airport on my way back from a trip to the Himalayas in October: Sacred Games by Vikram Chandra (published in India by Penguin and in Britain by Faber). It’s a plump (950 pages) and populous novel set primarily in Mumbai, […]

Artemis Cooper, author of the much-praised new biography of Patrick Leigh Fermor, will be among speakers at a celebration of the great man’s travel writing at King’s College London next Tuesday (November 20).  

The FT’s Weekend Magazine had an interview with the American writer Richard Ford. He said he didn’t review books because he didn’t trust his own judgement. He went on: Giving a book a bad review is like driving along the road and seeing a hitchhiker and deciding that instead of not picking him up you’ll […]

The judges of the Dolman Travel Book Award have had trouble reaching agreement on a shortlist, so they have listed six books rather than the usual five. They are: Harlem is Nowhere by Sharifa Rhodes-Pitts (Granta) Thin Paths; journeys in and around an Italian Village by Julia Blackburn (Jonathan Cape) To a Mountain in Tibet […]

There’s a lovely line on life as a train journey in a new book about happiness by the Irish writer Michael Foley. According to a review in The Observer yesterday, that journey isn’t aboard “a gleaming Orient Express… into exotic glamour, adventure and excitement”. Instead, we travel on “a rusty old English branch line, puffing […]


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