Travel Writing


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Presentation to the staff of Novelist on travel writing and readers' advisory.

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Travel Writing

  1. 1. Travel Writing Dr. Robert Burgin Author of Going Places: A Reader’s Guide to Travel NarrativeTravel Writing 1
  2. 2. The Book  Published by Libraries Unlimited (ABC-CLIO)  Part of the “Real Stories” series  Cords, The Real Story  Cords, The Inside Scoop  Roche, Real Lives Revealed  Zellers, Women’s Nonfiction  O’Connor, Life Stories  Stoeger, Food LitTravel Writing 2
  3. 3. Defining Travel Writing  Travel writing vs travel guides  Fodor’s, Frommer’s, Rick Steves  Writing vs photography vs “graphic”  Australian Colors: Images of the Outback by Bill Bachman  You Can Never Find a Rickshaw When It Monsoons by Mo Willems  Voluntary travel vs work related vs forced  Don’t Look Behind You!: A Safari Guide’s Encounters with Ravenous Lions, Stampeding Elephants and Lovesick Rhinos by Peter Allison  Heading South, Looking North: A Bilingual Journey by Ariel DorfmanTravel Writing 3
  4. 4. My Definition  One or more travelers …  Take a voluntary trip …  To one or more places …  And share their personal thoughts, perceptions, reactions, and experiences.  Intended to be read and enjoyed in a linear manner, from start to finish …  And not referred to simply on an as-needed basis.Travel Writing 4
  5. 5. History of the Genre  Earliest narratives involve travel  The Epic of Gilgamesh, The Iliad, The Odyssey  Earliest travel writing  Herodotus, Hecataeus of Miletus, Pausanias  Heavy focus on place  Major focus for much of travel writing’s history  Why?  Until spread of railroads, travel was strenuous, slow, expensive, and dangerousTravel Writing 5
  6. 6. History of the Genre  Later focus on the purpose of the travel or the traveler  Faxian, A Record of Buddhist Kingdoms (399-412)  Nasir Khusraw, Safarnama (11th century)  Basho, The Narrow Road to the Deep North and Other Travel Sketches (1694)  Early expatriate writing  Early travel humorTravel Writing 6
  7. 7. History of the Genre  Key points:  Destination may be an important factor in the appeal of travel narratives, but …  It is by no means the only appeal factorTravel Writing 7
  8. 8. Appeal of the Genre  People read travel writing …  For pleasure  Because they are interested in a destination  Because they are interested in some subject  For the beauty of the writing  For a sense of similarity  For a sense of difference  As part of their own travel  In place of travel that they can’t take  For the usual appeal factorsTravel Writing 8
  9. 9. My Sub-Genres  A Sense of Place  Quests  The Journey  Getting There Is Half the Fun  The Expatriate Life  Travel Humor  Travel AdventureTravel Writing 9
  10. 10. A Sense of Place  Focus = The destination  The physical beauty of a place  This Cold Heaven: Seven Seasons in Greenland by Greta Ehrlich  The people who live there  Nine Lives: In Search of the Sacred in Modern India by William Dalrymple  Cities  Behind the Beautiful Forevers: Life, Death, and Hope in a Mumbai Undercity by Katherine Boo  Nature  The Birds of Heaven: Travels with Cranes by Peter Matthiessen  Endangered places  Sacred Sea: A Journey to Lake Baikal by Peter ThomsonTravel Writing 10
  11. 11. Quests  Focus = The purpose of the travel  In search of food  Everything but the Squeal: Eating the Whole Hog in Northern Spain by John Barlow  In search of history  Shadow of the Silk Road by Colin Thubron  In search of legends  The Lost City of Z: A Tale of Deadly Obsession in the Amazon by David Grann  In search of a concept  The Geography of Bliss: One Grump’s Search for the Happiest Places in the World by Eric Weiner  In the footsteps of …  Finding George Orwell in Burma by Emma LarkinTravel Writing 11
  12. 12. The Journey  Focus = The traveler or travelers  Travel that heals  To a Mountain in Tibet by Colin Thubron  Travel that leads to self discovery  Native Stranger: A Black American’s Journey into the Heart of Africa by Eddy L. Harris  Travel to one’s past  The Stone Boudoir: Travels Through the Hidden Villages of Sicily by Teri Maggio  Return trips  An Unexpected Light: Travels in Afghanistan by Jason Elliot  Family travel  Wrong About Japan: A Father’s Journey with His Son by Peter CareyTravel Writing 12
  13. 13. Getting There Is Half the Fun  Focus = The means of travel  On Foot  A Walk in the Woods by Bill Bryson  On the Rails  Dark Star Safari: Overland from Cairo to Cape Town by Paul Theroux  On the Road  Blue Highways: A Journey into America by William Least Heat- Moon  On Two Wheels  Long Way Round: Chasing Shadows Across the World by Ewan McGregor and Charley BoormanTravel Writing 13
  14. 14. The Expatriate Life  Focus = Longer stays  A Year or Two in …  Four Seasons in Rome: On Twins, Insomnia, and the Biggest Funeral in the History of the World by Anthony Doerr  Living Abroad  Driving Over Lemons: An Optimist in a by Chris Stewart  Living with Others  Bury Me Standing: The Gypsies and Their Journey by Isabel FonsecaTravel Writing 14
  15. 15. Travel Humor  Focus = Humor  Wit and Wisdom  In a Sunburned Country by Bill Bryson  Crazy Ideas  Round Ireland with a Fridge by Tony HawksTravel Writing 15
  16. 16. Travel Adventure  Focus = Adventure  Thrill Seekers  True Spirit: The True Story of a 16-Year-Old Australian Who Sailed Solo, Nonstop, and Unassisted Around the World by Jessica Watson  Unexpected Adventures  Into Thin Air: A Personal Account of the Mount Everest Disaster by Jon Krakauer  They Were Heroes  The River of Doubt: Theodore Roosevelt’s Darkest Journey by Candace MillardTravel Writing 16
  17. 17. Fiction Read-Alikes  Strong sense of place: David Guterson  Set in specific places: Lawrence Durrell, Donna Leon, Naguid Mahfouz  Journeys for enlightenment: Paulo Coelho  Methods of travel: Agatha Christie, Greg Moody’s Cycling Murder Mysteries  Travel humor: Charles Portis, Evelyn Waugh  Travel Adventure: Daniel Defoe, James DickeyTravel Writing 17
  18. 18. Keeping Up  Any New Books? =  Specify the category or genre  42 categories  Including “Literature and Fiction,” “Mystery and Thrillers,” “Sci-Fi and Fantasy,” etc.  Get weekly emails  My blog  TravelWithABook.comTravel Writing 18
  19. 19. Questions?Travel Writing 19