New Travel Writer of the Year 2023

Enter the world’s best competition for unpublished travel writers! In association with the Edward Stanford Travel Writing Awards.

ENTRIES TO THIS YEAR’S COMPETITION ARE NOW CLOSED. Please check our Competitions page for updates on the long- and shortlist announcements.

For over twenty years, the Bradt Guides ‘New Travel Writer of the Year’ competition has been seeking out and championing new writing talent. Previous winners and finalists in the competition have gone on to see their work published in newspapers, travel magazines and books.

As previously, we’ve teamed up with the Edward Stanford Travel Writing Awards to offer this unrivalled opportunity for unpublished travel writers. We’re also very excited that this year’s first prize is a fantastic holiday for two to Iceland sponsored by Discover the World and Play, along with a commission to write an article about the trip.

The theme

The theme for this year’s competition is Beneath the Surface. Entrants are invited to submit an original piece of writing of between 600 and 800 words that focuses on this topic. It is not compulsory to include the phrase within the body of the piece itself, but the piece must very clearly adhere to this theme. Please note that ‘Beneath the Surface’ should NOT be the title of the piece – each entry must have an original title.

The piece must be a true story, based on the writer’s personal experience and written as a first-hand account, in the first person and in English. 

The prizes

Three finalists will be invited to attend the Edward Stanford Travel Writing Awards in London in early 2023, where the winner will be announced along with all the other awards.

The overall winner will win a three-night stay for two people on the West Iceland Escape trip at Glacier Lodge, sponsored by Discover the World and Play.* They will be commissioned to write an article about their trip which will be published on the Bradt and Discover the World websites, as well as in Bradt’s Travel Club magazine.

The two runners-up will receive three Bradt guides of their choice. All the shortlisted pieces will be published on the Bradt website and in Wexas Traveller magazine.

* Leading Iceland experts Discover the World offer you the chance to escape to spectacular West Iceland on this self-drive holiday staying at the charming 3-bedroom Glacier Lodge. Located on the rugged Snaefellsnes Peninsula it offers the perfect base from which to explore Iceland’s stunning west under the dancing northern lights or the glow of the midnight sun. At its tip is the majestic Snaefellsjokull, a snow-capped volcano that has an irresistible lure, believed by many locals to hold mysterious powers. No wonder the region was the setting and inspiration for Jules Verne’s famous ‘Journey to the Centre of the Earth’. Flights are provided by Play.

For more details, see our terms and conditions page. 

The judges

Judges for this year’s competition include:

  • Hilary Bradt, founder of Bradt Guides
  • Adrian Phillips, MD of Bradt Guides
  • Janice Booth, Bradt author and editor
  • Amy Sohanpaul, editor of Traveller Magazine
  • Jonathan Lorie, travel-writing trainer and author of The Travel Writer’s Way
  • Hugh Brune, head of sales and marketing at Bradt Guides

Before you enter 

To give yourself the best possible chance of success, have a look at our hints from a previous competition about what the judges are looking for. You can also read all of last year’s longlisted entries. Still not sure whether to throw your hat into the ring? Read Jonathan Lorie’s article on travel writing competitions.

For more inspiration, take a look at Travel Write, an anthology of the best pieces of writing to pass in front of the judges’ eyes over the past 20 years. Six themed chapters include remarkable places, extraordinary people, encounters with wildlife; real terror; history; and learning and reflection. All in all, 95 stories cover everything from border guard mix-ups, wild animals and dodgy navigation to a day trip to Iceland and being seduced by a goat in a French market. All entrants to this year’s competition will receive an exclusive 50% discount code that can be redeemed against a copy of the book.

Am I eligible? 

The competition is open to unpublished writers only. We define this as someone who has not previously been paid for a travel-related piece of writing published either in print or online. There are always grey areas with this, so for further clarification please see the competition rules here, and if you’re still not sure get in touch.

The small print 

Entry fee: £15.

Deadline for entries: 30 November 2022.

Full details of how to submit your entry will be sent upon payment of the entry fee.

For full terms and conditions, see this page.

Expert feedback 

Once again we are offering entrants to the Bradt Guides ‘New Travel Writer of the Year’ competition the opportunity to receive detailed expert feedback on their entry.

Jonathan Lorie is a former editor of Traveller magazine who has written for the GuardianIndependentNational Geographic and Conde Nast Traveller, among many others. As well as running the Travellers’ Tales training courses he has been a judge of the Bradt Guides ‘New Travel Writer of the Year’ competition for many years and will take on the role again in 2022. 

Jonathan’s book The Travel Writer’s Way was published in 2019. This unique, practical 12-step programme has helped readers develop their travel writing through enjoyable creative exercises and expert tuition. It features exclusive interviews on the craft of travel writing from several notable professional writers including Paul Theroux, Robert MacFarlane, Colin Thubron and Sara Wheeler.

Jonathan is offering a half-hour telephone or Zoom call in which he will discuss the strengths and weaknesses of your entry, possible next steps for your travel writing and answer any questions you may have. Price: £35.00 + VAT

For more information and to request feedback on your entry, please contact All feedback calls will take place after the winning entries have been announced, at a time to be agreed between Jonathan Lorie and the entrant.