A public event where five travel writers discuss their very different work
Date: Wednesday 13 March 2013
Time: 6.00-7.00pm, followed by a drinks reception
Venue: Portland Building, Portland Street, Portsmouth PO1 3AH
Travel writing has never been more interesting or more diverse than it is today. It has both broad appeal and literary import, with television personalities such as Michael Palin to be found in the genre alongside Nobel Laureates such as VS Naipaul. In this session we present five very different travel writers – from Portsmouth and beyond – with very different approaches to the craft. Drawing on their own enthralling travel experiences, their work spans poetry, fiction, creative nonfiction and journalism.
Tony Giles is a blind and mostly deaf man who has travelled the world solo. For him, travel is about engaging all the senses he has access to; feeling different textures, tasting new foods, hearing great music, smelling unusual plants. Meeting and trusting people has been essential not only to Tony’s survival but so that he can return from a trip a little wiser and more fulfilled. His journeys are fiercely independent and involve soul searching, self-education and intense adventure.
Tony has written about his experiences in Seeing the World My Way (Silverwood Originals 2010), a journey of hedonism and thrill seeking adventure across America, Asia and Australasia. It is a unique story full of drama and danger, from bungee jumping in New Zealand to booze-filled nights out in New Orleans. This fascinating travel autobiography is a young blind man’s angle on the world as he attempts to achieve his dreams, dealing with disability whilst living life to the full.
Originally from Weston-super-Mare, Tony is now working on a sequel, Seeing the Americas My Way.
There was a time when cheap air travel did not exist. Anyone with a sense of adventure and the desire to travel – but short of money – had to stand by the road with their thumb out. Felix and Boz apply their ‘rules of the road’ when making their epic journey from Bristol to Matala, Greece. They get lost, meet strange people, buy weird footwear and avoid being eaten by tortoises. If you’ve ever wondered what it was like to be a hippie bumming around Europe in the 70s this is the book for you. Mike’s novel ‘Rules of the Road’ (Tangent Books) ‘… confirms Manson’s stature as a top – drawer comic writer.’
His first novel ‘Where’s My Money?’ (Tangent Books, 2008) was described by Arthur Smith as ‘full of brilliantly observed characters and consistently witty – and carries a poignant punch.’ Mike is an editor of the Bristol Review of Books, was chair of the judges of the 2009 Bristol Short Story Prize and an organizer of the 2011 Bristol Festival of Literature.
Sarah Cheverton is a feminist activist, a freelance writer, researcher and co-ordinator of the Portsmouth Writer Hub. She is currently Writer in Residence for a frontline service working with victims and survivors of domestic abuse and sexual violence, Aurora New Dawn. She is a keen advocate for the role writers can play in community development and supporting the voluntary sector.
Sarah’s freelance writing has featured in a number of publications in recent years, including feminist news site Women’s Views on News, Vagina Magazine, and Children and Young People Now. Her travel writing has been featured on various websites, and in a collection of travel writing on Malaysia, Sini Sana. Most recently a selection of her writing was profiled alongside other Portsmouth writers on Soundcloud. These podcasts were based on a series of articles and a developing book called Being Peace in Israel and Palestine about her experiences in Israel and the Occupied Territories as part of a unique and inspiring project called ‘Being Peace’, run by an organisation called Sanghaseva.
Sarah accompanied Sanghaseva on their latest Being Peace retreat, a highly structured yet incredibly flexible journey through the conflict that takes in a wide range of viewpoints, including Palestinian villagers and farmers, Israeli Defence Force soldiers, former Palestinian resistance fighters, Jewish settlers, Israeli residents and just a small number of the many people from a diverse range of organisations working for a peaceful resolution to the conflict.
Alongside Being Peace, Sarah is also currently writing her first novel.
Tom Phillips is a writer based in Bristol, England, author of two pamphlets of poetry, Burning Omaha and Reversing into the Cold War, and the full-length collection Recreation Ground (Two Rivers Press, 2012). His plays have been staged widely and include Man Diving, Hotel Illyria, Arbeit Macht Frei and the solo show I Went to Albania. Tom is also currently studying for a PhD in creative writing at Reading University.
He earns his keep by maintaining www.venue.co.uk.
Tom Sykes is the co-editor of 3 anthologies of hitchhiking stories that have sold 20,000 copies worldwide. The first, No Such Thing as a Free Ride? (Cassell Illustrated, 2005) was serialized in The Times and named The Observer’s Travel Book of the Month. A literary road movie to take you on the trip of a lifetime, this book recounts the more innocent, more vibrant times in which we have lived, and points to the possibility of a more eco-friendly, co-operative, car-sharing future.
Tom will explore the history of hitchhiking, from its pilgrim origins in the Middle Ages to the Depression to the counterculture of the 1960s and beyond. Tom then discusses the present day: how state-organised hitchhiking schemes operate in Poland and Cuba and how hitching offers challenges, insights and adventures that you won’t find inside the cocoons of modern commercial tourism.
Tom’s travel writing has appeared in The Daily Telegraph, The London Magazine, Going Places, GoNomad, The Philippines Free Press, The Expat and various in-flight magazines. He is currently pursuing PhD studies in travel writing at Goldsmiths College and teaches the same subject at the University of Portsmouth. He is also working on With Daisy in Manila, a book about surviving a developing world megacity with his young family.