Showing posts from February 7, 2010

The Decline of Literary Travel Writing

A recent ‘bee in my bonnet’ at present is the unremarked demise of the Thomas Cook Travel Book Award for which I was short-listed in its final 25th year of 2004. This came about as a result of my literary travel book on the island provinces of Papua New Guinea, the first for over a hundred years. The only literary bastion defending the literary quality of the travel book has disappeared. This particular genre is experiencing a terribly difficult period just now. Unless there are large quantities of olives in the landscape or readers are easily able to travel and identify with the destination chosen by the author, publishers seem to show marginal interest. One used to read travel literature because one was not easily able to reach the author’s destination and to learn something significant of foreign cultures. My own area of exploration is the South Pacific. Little of any consequence outside the world of anthropology has been published on these fascinating Oceanic cultures for ye