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Deskbound Traveller is taking a break while its editor escapes from the desk.

RSL Ondaatje Prize winner will be announced tonight

The winner of one of my favourite literary awards, the RSL Ondaatje Prize — for a book “evoking the spirit of a place” — will be announced this evening. I’ll be on a plane at the time, but you can find out who has won by keeping an eye on the websites of Telegraph Travel and the Royal Society of Literature. On the former, you can read extracts from the six books on the short list.

‘Spirit of place’: the RSL Ondaatje Prize short list

The short list for the 2018 RSL Ondaatje Prize was made public while I was away. On the website of Telegraph Travel, you can read extracts I’ve chosen from the six books.

Unbound

Deskbound Traveller is taking a break while its editor escapes from the desk.

RSL Ondaatje Prize short list out on Wednesday

The short list for the 2018 RSL Ondaatje Prize for “a distinguished work of fiction, non-fiction or poetry evoking the spirit of a place” is due to be published on Wednesday morning. All I can say at this stage is that it’s a strong list, with contenders representing all three genres. Watch out for more news on Wednesday. I’ve chosen extracts from the six books for Telegraph Travel, and they should be appearing either this coming weekend or the following one.

Getting a lift from the land: my review of ‘Ground Work’

My review of the wonderful new anthology Ground Work: Writings on Places and People (Jonathan Cape, £16.99), edited by Tim Dee, appeared in print in the Review section of The Daily Telegraph today. It’s not on the Telegraph website, but you can read it now on Deskbound Traveller.

On the Irish border

Several times on Deskbound Traveller and elsewhere I’ve recommended The Rule of the Land (Faber & Faber), Garrett Carr’s timely account of a walk along the Irish border, which my fellow judges and I short-listed for Stanford Dolman Travel Book of the Year. In the Review section of The Guardian at the weekend, the Irish Times columnist Fintan O’Toole had a few more suggestions for readers keen to get to grips with a frontier that’s facing an uncertain future.

RSL Ondaatje Prize short list due next week

The Ondaatje Prize of the Royal Society of Literature isn’t one of the world’s biggest literary prizes — £10,000 as against £50,000 for the Man Booker and €100,000 for the International Dublin Literary Award — but it’s always of keen interest to Deskbound Traveller, as it’s awarded for “a distinguished work of fiction, non-fiction or poetry evoking the spirit of a place”. The short list for the 2018 prize is due to be published next week (April 18); the winner will be announced on May 14. Watch this space for more news.

Unbound

Deskbound Traveller is taking a break while its editor escapes from the desk.

Travel and nature at Hay Festival

The programme was announced today for the Hay Festival 2018 (May 24-June 3). Speakers will include William Atkins, whose book on deserts, The Immeasurable World, is due to be published in June by Faber & Faber; Patrick Barkham, author of Islander; Horatio Clare, who will be reporting on his adventures in Finland while researching Icebreaker: A Voyage Far North; Tristan Gooley, the “Natural Navigator”, introducing his latest guide, Wild Signs and Star Paths; Ursula Martin, who hit the road while recovering from cancer to write One Woman Walks Wales; and Jasper Winn, whose Waterways: A Thousand Miles Along Britain’s Canals, is due to be published by Profile Books in June. Also on the bill are Tim Dee, whose absorbing new anthology, Ground Work, I mentioned recently, and Mark Cocker, whose latest book, Our Place: Can We Save Britain’s Wildlife Before It Is Too Late?, is due out next month. According to the publisher, Jonathan Cape, Cocker “explores in intimate detail six special places that embody the history of conservation or whose fortunes allow us to understand why our landscape looks as it does today”.