I don’t hold with abroad and think that foreigners speak English when our backs are turned.
Quentin Crisp

 

Eric Newby 2001

 

Travel Writing ‘legend’ recognised with BGTW Lifetime Achievement Award – London, 12th November 2001

Eric Newby in the Hindu Kush, by Hugh CarlessOver 400 members of the world’s travel trade and media applauded the lifetime achievements of the legendary travel writer, Eric Newby (82), at last night’s British Guild of Travel Writers’ Gala Awards Dinner held at The Savoy Hotel in London. The award comes just as one of his books, concerning his exploits as a POW on the run in Italy during WWII, is released as a major TV film in the USA & Canada.

Eric Newby was born in London in 1919. He began his working life in the rag trade as a travelling salesmen, but his passion for travel really got underway in 1938 when he joined the crew of a four-masted Finnish barque and sailed in the last Grain Race from Australia to Europe via Cape Horn - a voyage he later wrote up in The Last Grain Race, which he considers to be his finest book.

During World War II Eric served in the Black Watch and the Special Boat Service. He was captured in Italy, escaped and was hidden by a Slovenian family. While with them, he fell in love with the daughter, Wanda, to whom he is still married. The story is told in his book, Love and War in the Apennines, which has just been made into a TV film due to be broadcast in the United States and Canada on November 18th. It will be shown in the UK next year.

Eric Newby book coverAfter the war Newby worked in the fashion industry until he was persuaded by a friend to go on a thoroughly ill planned expedition to Afghanistan, chronicled in his most famous book, A Short Walk in the Hindu Kush, which is considered by many to be one of the finest travel books ever written.

Eric became a full-time travel journalist/writer and was Travel Editor at The Observer newspaper for 10 years. He has made numerous other journeys and written a number of other well-known books. His two most recent books have been collections of B&W photographs taken on his travels.

Sadly, Eric died on 20th October, 2006.

 

 
James Lowen

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