The literary art of travel

TRAVEL writers will be descending on Sherborne over the weekend 5th to 7th April, for the town’s Travel Writing Festival, bringing tales of adventures and experiences around the globe, from Bodmin to Beijing, and across the centuries, from Caesar’s Gaul to the UK shipping forecast.

Speakers include world-famous photographer Don McCullin, explorer Benedict Allen and Hilary Bradt, the award-winning travel publisher, celebrating the 50th anniversary of her Bradt guides.

Nigerian-born Noo Saro-Wiwa, whose first book, Transwonderland, was a Sunday Times Travel Book of the Year, will be talking about her new book, Black Ghosts, a remarkable journey into the lives of Africans in China.

Monisha Rajesh follows her witty debut book Around India in 80 Trains, with a talk about her global rail travel experiences and her latest book, Epic Train Journeys.

Russia isn’t on most people’s travel lists now, but Tom Parfitt, who spent 20 years as a foreign correspondent in Moscow, tells the story of an amazing 1,000 mile walk he undertook in 2008, from the Black Sea to the Caspian Sea and across seven Russian republics. He made the marathon journey after the horrifying siege of the Beslan School, in which 314 hostages were killed. His book is called High Caucasus – A Mountain Quest in Russia’s Haunted Hinterland.

Festival curator and travel writer Rory MacLean says: “Our perception of the world is shaped by our experiences and so limited by the places we know, the people whom we meet and the stories that we hear … This year’s Sherborne Travel Writing Festival responds to both yesterday’s lockdown limitations and today’s dramatic upsurge in international travel.”

All events take place at the Powell Theatre in Abbey Road – for more information visit