We realize that the travel writing realm is a very difficult one to break into, which is why we decided to shake things up a bit this year and send three writers on assignment, instead of just one.
This opportunity captured the imaginations of wordsmiths the world over – so many so that we actually had to bring in more judges! However, their efforts were rewarded with an overwhelming number of fantastic essays. Aspiring writers, you have done it again and gone and impressed the pants off us.
As a travel company, sometimes we think we’ve heard it all, and yet your experiences and your stories prove otherwise. We would like to thank everyone that entered this year because no matter what your travel experience or where you are on your travel writing journey, your stories have the power to inform, to inspire and to give the world a new perspective.
One thing to remember folks!
This is a travel writing scholarship, not a straight writing competition.
This scholarship is about finding the aspiring writers, the raw talent, with the most potential to develop their skills and be molded through the mentorship experience; individuals who each could use this opportunity to hone their craft, refine their technique and become better writers.
As always, there will be differing opinions, there will be questions asked, but know that we spend countless hours debating this and wish we could send everyone shortlisted (and even some that aren't!).
Please feel free to leave your congratulations to the winners and the shortlisted entries below. However, if you have any other comments, concerns, program feedback or trollish rants, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Now, without further delay...
Please join us in congratulating the 3 winners of our 2014 Travel Writing Scholarship - Rachel, Amanda and Jarryd!
Rachel Ecklund, Amanda Richardson and Jarryd Salem are headed to Berlin to learn from Lonely Planet author Alex Leviton then off on solo 10-day road trips around Europe - congratulations guys!
They will receive:
- A 2-day custom Travel Writing course in Berlin with mentor Alex Leviton
- A 10-day bespoke road trip across Europe including transportation through GoEuro and accommodation with Hostelworld.
- Round-trip airfare from their country of residence to Berlin.
- Enrollment in the MatadorU Travel Writing course (with 3 months unlimited access to the course).
- Travel insurance for the duration of the trip from World Nomads.
We can't wait to read all about their adventures in Europe!
Beluga Smile by Rachel Eklund (USA)
Judges' comments: This essay nailed the pacing of a born writer perfectly. Every word forwards the story, which sets Alaska up as the main character, not the writer. We loved this piece for the sense of community that it portrays to the audience - we could see the beach, taste the whale, understand what living in a small Alaskan tribal village is like. Rachel’s writing is quite poetic and prose-like (but not overwhelmingly so) and there was no reliance on clichés or adjectives to tell this powerful story.
UPDATE! Read Rachel's blog about her adventures on assingment in Europe.
Wrong Side of the Wall by Amanda Richardson (USA)
Judges Comments: From the very first paragraph, this essay hooks you in. So many travel stories share the best moments, or maybe an awkward experience, but this story tackles what feels like to be hated for what and who you are in another place. Amanda’s piece is emotional and evocative without being cloying. As you are drawn into the Arab Quarter with her you can’t help but feel uncomfortable too and the ending reminds the reader that religion and politics are learned and not inherited.
UPDATE! Read Amanda's blog about her adventures on assignment in Europe.
Never-Ending Horizon by Jarryd Salem (Australia)
Judge's Comments: Jarryd’s got that magical quality of both a born adventurer and a born storyteller. This essay is not about any specific travel experience, but about a bond forged with the set of wheels that enabled all of those travel experiences. The reader can’t help but want to jump in that van and join the adventure. He is in our view, a diamond in the rough, his unique voice and perspective, along with the comedic timing made this story one that every generation of travelers can relate to and feel nostalgic for.
UPDATE! Read Jarryd's blog about his adventures on assignment in Europe.
(in alphabetical order)
The top shortlisted entries will receive enrollment in the MatadorU Travel Writing mini course.
On the Road Again by Alanna Tynan (Canada)
Camouflage by Alexandra Scale (Australia)
The Bus by Ann Foo (Australia)
Only in Mongolia by Candice Linton-Smith (China)
The Bride Wore Red by Katherine Rosenbaum (USA)
Mbale’s Boys to Men by Charlotte Bossa (Uganda)
Love in High Definition by Danielle Barr (USA)
An Anthology of Rain (or, The Wicklow Mountains) by Emily Cook (USA)
Rumble by Garrett Grams (Vietnam)
Why One Does Not Exercise on Holidays by Jamie Pantsaras (Australia)
Holy Cow by Jessica Andrews (UK)
Head in a Jar by Kelly Chastain (USA)
My First Foreign Bribe by Kris Mole (UK)
How to make it hurt so good by Lady Talece Bell (USA)
The Crimson Waters by Lawrence Edmonds (UK)
Legends of Light by Lindsey Edson (USA)
The Tajik Horsemen by Marius Fossum (Norway)
A Grand Canyon by Mark McLinden (UK)
Where India and Pakistan Meet by Mihaela Nenciu (Romania)
A Friend in Hand by Rebecca Melrose (Australia)
Blood by Rhiannon Tuffield (Australia)
2014 Travel Writing Scholarship by Samyukta Somvanshi
An Alternative to Trinkets by Samuel Simon (Spain)
The Dancer and the Poet on Chicken Street by Santiago Nocera (USA)
The Sky Burial by Stuart Beedie (Australia)
Night Sailing in the Norwegian Sea by Vicky Inglis (UK)
Washing off the Dirt by Yvonne Colley (Australia)
For all of you aspiring creatives, check out our Scholarships page and sign up to hear about our latest opportunities, tips, advice and interviews with industry professionals in the fields of photography, travel writing and filmmaking.
And if you're lucky enough to be mentored by one of our industry professionals, it could kick start your career!
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