Today saw the gathering of the judges of the Authors Club/Dolman 2011 Prize for the best travel book of 2010. The judging panel – chaired by Giles Foden, author of ‘The Last King of Scotland’ and including Chris Moss, Time Out’s Travel and Books Editor – met at Black’s Club in Soho to choose a prizewinner from the shortlist of 6. At the award gathering in Hatchards bookshop, Giles Foden said “Defining genres is always a tricky business and travel writing is always the trickiest of all genres to define. There is something capricious about it, as if the genre itself was on a journey. It was a difficult decision, but the book which we thought best balanced both the traditions of travel writing and new directions it may take, was “Molotov’s Magic Lantern: A Journal in Russian History” by Rachel Polonsky, in which the discovery of the the private library of one of Stalin’s henchmen opens a door on the secrets of Russian culture past and present.’
‘Molotov’s Magic Lantern’ by Rachel Polonsky is published by Faber. The other books in the Dolman shortlist were: ‘Dreaming in Hindi’ by Katherine Russell Rich (Portobello Books); ‘Drinking Arak off an Ayatollah’s Beard’ by Nicolas Jubber (Da Capo Press) ; ‘Germania’ by Simon Winder (Picador); ‘Parisians’ by Graham Robb (Picador) and ‘The Last Resort’ by Douglas Rogers (Shortbooks)
For info, see dolmanprize.wordpress.com.