Awards for Parthian Authors

Welsh Books Council

Awards for Parthian Authors - 05 November 2014

John Harrison wins best travel book award for  Forgotten Footprints from the British Guild of Travel Writer.  Forgotten Footprints tells the forgotten stories of the merchantmen, navy men, sealers, whalers, and aviators who, along with scientists and adventurers, drew the first ghostly maps of the Antarctic Peninsula, South Shetland Islands and the Weddell Sea – the most visited places in Antarctica, described vividly by a man who cannot keep away himself, having visited over 40 times. The factual accounts are mixed in with John’s own blend of personal history and myth, as he recounts his own first journey through the white continent. The book additionally won Wales Book of the Year 2013 for Creative Non-fiction.

The judges described the book as an "Enjoyable read with plenty of detail and colour, a particular challenge when the continent written about [Antarctica] is devoid of any! Though the heavyweights of exploration to Antarctica do get a mention, it is Harrison’s approach to highlighting the tales of individuals who played a significant part in the discovery of the continent, but are relatively unknown, that makes it so intriguing. The description of events and the personalities painted combined with anecdotes of his own travels to the region add to what is a fascinating narrative about the challenges and struggles of exploring one of the last frontiers."

The winner of the $10,000 Writers’ Trust / McClelland & Stewart Journey Prize, awarded for the best short story published by an emerging writer in a Canadian literary magazine, is Tyler Keevil for 'Sealskin', a short story set in a fish processing plant in the Burrard Inlet, British Columbia and first published in The New Orphic Review. The story also forms part of his assured, rich, blisteringly honest short story collection  Burrard Inlet.

The judges said: 'Tyler Keevil’s "Sealskin" is a stunner: straightforward and unadorned, but humming with subsurface power. Possessed of a sturdy narrative backbone and unrelenting forward momentum, the story explores familiar themes – alienation, humanity’s relationship to nature, coming of age, and loss of innocence – but does so in a way that seems fresh and vibrant. Strong physical details adjoin keen psychological insights, and Keevil handily builds scenes that reverberate with insight and potency. Keevil has accomplished something rare: a story about rough masculinity that brims with emotion and pathos.

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