The judges of the Dolman Travel Book Award, due to deliver their verdict on September 30, are currently considering the strongest short list there has been for the prize for a few years. Among them is the French writer Sylvain Tesson’s Consolations of the Forest, in which he chronicles the six months he spent in a cabin in Siberia, like some latterday Thoreau on Smirnoff. “I took along books, cigars and vodka,” he says. “The rest — space, silence and solitude — was already there.” The book is beautifully translated from the French by Linda Coverdale. I’m delighted to be publishing a short extract on Deskbound Traveller, courtesy of Tesson’s British publisher, Penguin.
Speaking of Thoreau, the latest edition of Granta magazine, which takes as its theme “American Wild”, has a “found” poem in celebration of the great man by Andrew Motion. It also has a thought-provoking piece by Adam Nicolson on the return of wolves to New Mexico, seen from the point of view of both environmentalist and rancher.