The latest addition to our book list is available now! The Soul of a Great Traveler collects the top prize winners from the first 10 years of Solas Awards for Best Travel Story of the Year. We're thrilled to put these 30 stories together in one volume that recognizes excellence in travel writing. Look for our book launch event on November 10 at Book Passage in Corte Madera, California.
By Katherine Jamieson
A tropical love story in Guyana.The one-room schoolhouse rang with the din of teenage girls’ voices in the humid afternoon air. Someone had erased the sentences with their adjectives and nouns underlined from the black wooden slab we used for a chalkboard and scrawled out a rough schedule for the upcoming concert: Indranie—Chutney dance; Onica—I Believe I Can Fly; Wanda—Modeling. Scratchy dub music played on the school’s dinged up tape deck, and a few girls gyrated their hips seductively to the deep bass line while the others sat around languidly braiding each other’s hair.
Deborah, the school prefect and informal director of the concert, was complaining to me. “Miss, dem first year girls actin’ stupidy, talking nuff nonsense. Miss, we must tell dem speak properly, and learn they lines, right, Miss?”
“Yes, yes, Deborah, please help them learn their lines,” I said fanning myself with some loose papers. I was sitting at one of the student desks, trying to imagine how the chaos in front of me would turn into a performance in the next six weeks, when we heard thumping sounds on the staircase.
By James Michael Dorsey
A magical day in Mali.Hippos surfaced with wiggling ears as the boat man poled our dhow past the submerged herd. We were both tense, expecting a bluff charge, while only feet away white pelicans with long golden beaks floated in the shallows casually scooping minnows in their great fleshy pouches. On the opposite shore the grass huts of the Fulani glowed like fiery tumbleweeds in the hazy sunrise as bare-breasted women pounded their dirty wash on river rocks. At this bend of Mali’s Niger River, the lethargic water resembles dark roasted coffee as it slowly meanders on towards the fabled city of Timbuktu. I was in old spear-and-loincloth Africa to chase the end of an era with my camera.
We're thrilled to announce the winners of the Eleventh Annual Solas Awards for Best Travel Story of the Year. Grand Prize winner James Michael Dorsey collected $1,000 for "Jordan's Bull," his powerful account of an encounter with a nomadic boy on an island in the Niger River in Mali. Katherine Jamieson won the silver award and $750 for "Bubble-Up," her poignant story of a surprising tropical love in Guyana. Anna Vodicka claimed the bronze award and $500 for "The Remnants of War: A Meditation on Peleliu," her thought-provoking essay about the power of nature and people to transcend the lasting effects of war. Congratulations to all, and here's the complete list of winners.
We're proud to announce that three new books recently hit the shelves. The Best Travel Writing, Volume 11 is the latest in our collections of inspiring travel stories. The newest additions to our 100 Places series are Patricia Harris's 100 Places in Spain Every Woman Should Go, a captivating guide to all things Spanish, and the third edition of 100 Places in Italy Every Woman Should Go by Susan Van Allen.