Travel and place at the festivals
Forthcoming festivals with events featuring writing on travel and place include the following:
Cuirt International Festival of Literature, Galway (April 8-14)
In a session titled “Traversing Parallels: Literature of Place”, Malachy Tallack, author of Sixty Degrees North and, most recently, the novel The Valley at the Centre of the World, which has been long-listed for the 2019 RSL Ondaatje Prize, will be in conversation with Manchán Magan, who has written books on his travels in Africa, India and South America and two novels.
Colonsay Book Festival (April 27-28), Southern Hebrides
The poet Jen Hadfield will read from new work and old (including Byssus and the TS Eliot Prize-winning Nigh-No-Place) that explores the natural world and ideas of home. Ann Cleeves will be in conversation about her series of Shetland novels (inspiration for the TV drama starring Douglas Henshall as DI Jimmy Perez), the eighth and last of which, Wild Fire, was published in 2018.
Robin A Crawford will be discussing and reading from Into the Peatlands: A Journey Through the Moorland Year; Sarah Maine will be in conversation about character and the power of place, with readings from The House Between Tides and Women of the Dunes; and James and Tom Morton will entertain with stories, readings and a few songs/poems about Shetland, “along with some father/son quarrelling/banter (and possibly a bit of cooking… )”.
(Colonsay itself, incidentally, is the subject of The Crofter and the Laird by John McPhee, recently republished in Britain by Daunt Books.)
Guernsey Literary Festival (May 1-6)
Horatio Clare will be talking about his latest book, The Light in the Dark: A Winter Journal and about Down to the Sea in Ships, which won him the 2015 Stanford Dolman Travel Book of the Year Award. Huw Lewis Jones, editor of The Writer’s Map, will be talking to Kiran Millwood Hargrave and Piers Torday about the maps that have inspired them.
Hay Festival, Hay-on-Wye (May 23-June 2)
Isabella Tree talks about her latest book, Wilding (long-listed for the RSL Ondaatje Prize), the story of a pioneering rewilding project in West Sussex using free-roaming grazing animals to create new habitats for wildlife.
Kapka Kassabova, author of Border: A Journey to the Edge of Europe, which was Stanford Dolman Travel Book of the Year for 2017, talks to Misha Glenny, former Central Europe correspondent for the BBC (whose own books include The Balkans, The Fall of Yugoslavia and, more recently, McMafia).
In a session billed as “Che Guevara to Juan Guaidó: Understanding Latin America”, Jon Lee Anderson of The New Yorker talks to Sophie Hughes to introduce the graphic version of his biography Che Guevara: A Revolutionary Life and explain what’s happening today in Venezuela.
Robert Macfarlane, whose latest book, Underland: A Deep Time Journey, will be published on May 2, will be interviewed by Horatio Clare (who will himself be speaking later on — see below).
In a session titled “Woodlands Past and Future Forests”, the arborists George Peterkin and Archie Miles discuss the state of woodland with Natalie Buttress, director of Woodland Trust Wales, and Sandi Toksvig, ambassador for the Woodland Trust.
Monisha Rajesh, author of Around the World in 80 Trains, talks about her 45,000-mile adventure on the rails.
John Simpson, BBC world affairs editor, talks about his new thriller “and the way in which, in fact as in fiction, so many of the most improbable or extraordinary stories and trails all lead back to Moscow”. He will be interviewed by Oliver Bullough, whose own books include The Last Man in Russia and Moneyland.
Drawing on the Literary Atlas project, academics from Cardiff University and the University of Wales — Jon Anderson, Mary-Ann Constantine and Damian Walford Davies — explore the relations between literature and landscape.
Alice Morrison (presenter of the BBC Two series Morocco to Timbuktu), who went to Morocco to run the Marathon des Sables and stayed on, talks about her latest book, My 1001 Nights: Tales and Adventures from Morocco (due to be published by Simon and Schuster on April 18).
Erling Kagge, the philosophical Norwegian adventurer and bestselling author of Silence in the Age of Noise, discusses his new book, Walking: One Step at a Time, with Dylan Moore. In a separate session on the same theme, Kate Humble will be talking about her latest book, Thinking On My Feet.
The travel writer Nicholas Jubber talks about his Epic Continent (which John Murray is due to publish on May 16), in which he explores the impact of poems, from The Odyssey to the Serbian Kosovo Cycle, on identity in Europe.
Raynor Winn talks to Claire Armitstead about The Salt Path, the story of how Winn and her terminally ill husband, having lost their home and their livelihood, set off to walk the South West Coast Path.
Peter Frankopan talks about The New Silk Roads, “a timely reminder that we live in a world that is profoundly interconnected”.
Horatio Clare, whose books include Something of His Art: Walking to Lübeck with JS Bach, The Light in the Dark: A Winter Journal and Running for the Hills, will look at writers inspired by the Welsh border landscape, including Coleridge, the Wordsworths, Bruce Chatwin and David Jones, and explore what it means to walk in the footsteps of writers and walkers.