Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Travel Writing: an AFAR contest, a conference & a Matador Network correspondent program

Travel writing--my favorite genre--is on my mind lately, and it keeps coming up on my radar. First, there was Michele Jin's presentation about the relaunch of her travel mag, Passionfruit, online. Then, while Googling a 2008 Trazzler snippet I wrote on a local travel destination, I saw that another piece, "Riding the Bonde through Historic Neighborhoods in Rio de Janeiro," had been republished on Salon.com as part of a photo series called "When Getting There is the Adventure."

Travelers' Tales anthologies
Yesterday I happened to read a yoga newsletter I subscribe to. The first thing featured was a 16-minute TED talk by Lavinia Spalding, editor of the newly released Best Women's Travel Writing anthology, volume 8. (My skydiving story, "Rite of Passage," was published in volume 5, and I plan to submit an essay to volume 9.) She calls travel writing "an incredibly powerful tool--something that can break down cultural borders and help create a more tolerant, connected and loving world. (You can watch the video below.)

Here are several other great opportunities to get your work (or yourself) out there:

1. AFAR magazine's CATCH contest: Post your best highlights and win a 5-day trip to Belgium!

This contest started at noon today, and runs through August 27. Each week you post an original photo and write a "highlight" (1,500 characters or less) about their featured destination or theme. You can post as many separate entries as you want each week. This week's destination is Brazil (and Montreal), so I'm going for it! Your work cannot be previously published by a magazine or newspaper (no "Parading in Rio's Carnival" for me), but I assume blogs are okay so I may adapt some posts from my old travel blog, Beijos do Brasil/Kisses from Brazil.

According to the website: all entries will be judged by panel of judges consisting of personnel from the Sponsor on the following criterion: (a) most creative interpretation of a given featured destination (35%), (b) most suitable to AFAR spirit of travel (25%), (c) most likely to inspire other travelers (20%), and (d) best artistic composition of photo (20%).

Read the complete AFAR CATCH contest guidelines here.

2. Fall 2012 Glimpse Correspondents Program. According to the website:
Each fall and spring, the Glimpse editorial team selects 10 Glimpse Correspondents. The program is accepting applications from emerging writers, journalists, photographers and filmmakers who are working, living, studying or volunteering outside of their home countries for a period of at least 10 weeks. These correspondents are expected to produce two long-form feature stories and/or photo essays, and in return receive one-on-one support from professional editors, as well as:

Applications due July 30! Go here to apply online.

3. Travel Writers and Photographers Conference at Book Passage (northern California):
I highly recommend attending this year's conference, August 9-12. Founded and chaired by Don George, the 4-day offerings include 3-hour morning writing workshops and afternoon/evening panels and presentations by prominent editors, agents and authors such as Larry Habegger (Travelers' Tales), Jim Benning (WorldHum), Spud Hilton (S.F. Chronicle) and Pauline Frommer (travel guides). They cover all aspects from traditional magazine and newspaper writing to anthologies, guidebooks and online writing (including topics such as social media and food blogging).

If you can't make it (or can't afford the $635 fee), come to the free evening presentations and schmooze afterwards: Friday night with award-winning-travel-writer (and actor) Andrew McCarthy (8:30-10 p.m.) and Sat. night with prominent journalist Susan Orlean, author of The Orchid Thief.

Check out the Travel Writers Conference schedule for more!

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