Winner and runners-up announced: National Geographic Traveller (UK)’s Travel Writing Competition 2021




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National Geographic Traveller (UK) has announced the winner and four runners-up of its annual Travel Writing Competition.

Bronwyn Townsend wins National Geographic Traveller (UK)’s Travel Writing Competition 2021 for her entry, ‘Norway: Swimming in the shadows of orcas’, focusing on her experiences in the Arctic.

The editors said: “Bronwyn’s piece is not only artfully framed by cold-water plunges but also succeeds in building suspense within the short narrative. Most laudably, the colours, characters and sensations of this remote part of the world are brought to life for readers through eloquent, informative prose.”


For anyone wanting to transform their love of writing into a career and to see their words published in the pages of National Geographic Traveller (UK), the magazine’s Travel Writing Competition is a foot in the door. The title aims to discover the best new writing talent in the UK and Ireland, and past winners have gone on to write for the magazine, often reporting on their winning trip and kickstarting a media career.

Pat Riddell, editor of National Geographic Traveller (UK), said, “The volume of entries exceeded any other year since this competition launched, suggesting that, over the course of the Covid-19 pandemic, many people have had time to reflect on the joys of past travel experiences — finding succour in memories of experiences overseas. The quality this year, too, was incredibly high, which made choosing our finalists a pleasure and a challenge.”

“Our brand is synonymous with award-winning travel writing, and the winner and runners-up we’re announcing today show our readers have every bit the same passion and eye for authentic travel experiences and encounters that our professional writers do. Our aim was simple: to recognise and reward the UK and Ireland’s best new writing talent, and I believe our five all-female finalists certainly belong in that category.”

The runners-up

Liv Helen Våge – ‘Mexico: Tides of change’
Phoebe Harper – ‘Ecuador: Into Jumandi’s lair’
Francesca De Prez – ‘Australia: The forest’s custodians’
Lindsey Miller – ‘North Korea: The market behind the mountains’

Read the full stories here.

Entrants were asked to pen 500 words on an inspirational travel experience. The editors were on the lookout for stories that captured the essence of a destination and engaged with the ethos of National Geographic Traveller (UK): immersive travel and authentic storytelling. All five stories are published in full in the December 2021 issue, on newsstands on 4 November.

The grand prize

What better place to inspire travel writing than Kenya? The travel experts at Kuoni have awarded the winner of National Geographic Traveller (UK)’s Travel Writing Competition 2021 an eight-night Governors’ Grand Safari for two people, courtesy of Governor’s Camp Collection, which includes its newest property, Mugie House, in Laikipia.

Further prizes

The winner and four runners-up each receive a free ticket to National Geographic Traveller (UK)The Masterclasses, which return 24-26 January 2022 in their popular online format, offering budding writers and photographers expert advice in hour-long, evening sessions. Tickets go on sale in December.

National Geographic Traveller (UK) has a cover price of £4.95, is available via subscription and on newsstands, and is published 10 times a year. Visit here for more information. The National Geographic Traveller (UK) digital edition is available for Apple, Android and Kindle devices.

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