Janice Booth, preliminary judge of the New Travel Writer of the Year competition, offers a few initial comments on the entries
Congratulations to all you enthusiastic competition entrants! You're about 20% more numerous than last year and you've given us a hugely varied bunch of entries. Wildlife features quite strongly, from bears, whales, moose and elephants to fish, birds, turtles, goats, chickens - and more. There are musicians and puppeteers, farmers and fishermen, taxi drivers (of course!) and pop stars; and your settings include towns, planes, oceans, deserts, beaches, mountains, forests and national parks. More of you express ecological concerns than in previous competitions, and several of you have had 'out of the blue' encounters with old people.
Many of you have used the theme extremely well and imaginatively, some more cursorily. It needs to be relevant to the whole of the entry, even if (as in some cases) that relevance doesn't become evident until the final paragraph. We have a lot more careful reading and re-reading still to do, but already it's clear that the entries include a lot of good and evocative writing, and the eight judges will need (as usual!) some detailed and often passionate discussions before finally deciding which should go through to the final stage. We hope to have established the short list and notified the shortlisted authors by mid-January (watch the website for details), so until then I'm afraid you must just wait patiently...
(Preliminary judge and Bradt editor/author)
To view the longlist, please click here.