The short list was announced this evening for the Stanford Dolman Travel Book of the Year. The seven titles include two on the topical subject of borders and one on small islands off Britain, a portrait of Pakistan and one of Calcutta, a book driven by the wind and one brimming with stories of the sea. The books are:
Islander: A Journey Around Our Archipelago by Patrick Barkham (Granta, £20)
Inspired by a DH Lawrence short story, Barkham travels through 11 outposts of the British Isles to find out what it means to be an islander.
The Rule of the Land: Walking Ireland’s Border by Garrett Carr (Faber, £13.99)
In the run-up to the UK’s vote on membership of the European Union, Carr walked along a frontier with a troubled past and an uncertain future.
The Epic City: The World on the Streets of Calcutta by Kushanava Choudhury (Bloomsbury, £16.99)
Choudhury, born in the US into an Indian family, celebrates daily life and “the myriad enchantments” of a city that, he says, is too often represented as “a horror show”.
RisingTideFallingStar by Philip Hoare (Fourth Estate, £16.99)
On coastal journeys, Hoare, who is something of a selkie (part human, part seal), tells stories of other artists, from Melville to Bowie, who have been drawn to the sea.
Where the Wild Winds Are: Walking Europe’s Winds from the Pennines to Provence by Nick Hunt (Nicholas Brealey, £16.99)
Having walked in Patrick Leigh Fermor’s footsteps to the Golden Horn, Hunt strides out on his own, to follow four of Europe’s winds across the Continent.
Border: A Journey to the Edge of Europe by Kapka Kassabova (Granta, £14.99)
In the borderlands of Bulgaria, Greece and Turkey, Kassabova writes of fences both on the ground and in the head, and of the frontiers between the real and the imagined.
Travels in a Dervish Cloak by Isambard Wilkinson (Eland, £19.95)
Wilkinson, sent to Pakistan to report on “the war on terror”, is keener to seek out the essence of the country among its mystics, tribal chiefs and feudal lords.
Extracts from the books are online on the Telegraph Travel website and will be in print in the travel section on Saturday. The £5,000 Stanford Dolman prize, formerly the Dolman prize — after the Rev William Dolman, a member of the Authors’ Club, who had been sponsoring it through the club since 2006 — was rebranded in 2015 and is now the centre-piece of an awards scheme run by the bookseller Stanfords in association with the tour operator Hayes and Jarvis and named after Stanfords’ founder: the Edward Stanford Travel Writing Awards. The winner will be announced on February 1.
For a chance to win all seven short-listed books, keep a close eye on Deskbound Traveller over the next couple of weeks.