John Gimlette wins Dolman Award
7th September 2012
John Gimlette has won this year's Dolman Travel Book of the Year award for Wild Coast: Travels on South America's Untamed Edge, his account of his journeys in the Guianas.
The award is named after Bill Dolman, former chairman of the Authors' Club, and is one of two major UK travel book prizes, alongside the British Guild of Travel Writers Award.
However, the latter is only open to members of the Guild and so the Dolman presents many authors with their only chance of scooping a major travel book award.
In Wild Coast, Gimlette charts his exploration of the dense jungles between the Orinoco and the Amazon rivers and how he encountered villagers in remote locations, poisonous snakes and runaway slaves during his journey.
The author - who is currently planning another adventure, this time to Sri Lanka - said he was 'extremely honoured' to win the award.
'I have that slight sense of guilt that I don't really deserve it. The book has occupied much of the past four years of my life. My family has had to put up with a lot, not least my long absences, in either South America or the attic,' he commented.
Tony Wheeler, chair of the judging panel and founder of Lonely Planet guidebooks, said Gimlette was a worthy winner of the GBP 2,500 prize.
'Wild Coast is a story that transports you to a place you barely knew about before, all done with a relaxed nonchalance that totally disregards the tough travels clearly involved,' he added.
Gimlette follows in the footsteps of Rachel Polonsky, who won the 2011 Dolman Travel Book of the Year award for Molotov's Magic Lantern: A Journey in Russian History.