Been there, done that? Now get writing! AFTW 2013 invites entries for 3 travel writing competitions:

Tricia Shantz

Tricia Shantz is a Social Geographer/Researcher. Her current interest is in the social impacts of tourism and climate change on coastal communities and the social construct of her community. She has been co-producing the Byron Guides since 1984 and recently co-wrote her first book Turning Point: Surf Portraits and Stories From Bells to Byron 1970-1971.


Tom Neal Tacker

Tom Neal Tacker is an intrepid traveller. Aged eight, he accompanied his parents to Miami Beach and lost them as quickly as possible. His approach to writing about travel has always been about the less than well-trod path, particularly if food and wine are included.

Having survived epidemics in Burkina Faso, warfare in Uganda, a trip on the “death boat” up the Sudanese Nile, muggings in Rio de Janeiro, bear and moose attacks in Alaska, scams in Turkey and working in Mother Theresa’s Kolkata hospice he knows all about travel on the wild side. He is a regular contributor to publications such as: The Age, The Sydney Morning Herald, Australian Traveller, Skylar, En Route, CWL Connect, Australian Gourmet Pages, Get Lost!, Time Out and numerous in-flight magazines. His work has also been published in three anthologies: ’Best Foot Forward: 30 Years of Australian Travel Writing’, ‘Red Dust & Wanderlust, Tales of Travel in Australia’ and ‘Snapshots of Sri Lanka, Travel Tales from the Island of Serendipity’.

See http://www.nakedhungrytraveller.com.au for the bigger picture.

Craig Tansley

Craig Tansley is a Melbourne-based freelance travel journalist who writes for some of the country’s leading publications – including the Australian Financial Review, the Sydney Morning Herald, the Age and the Sun Herald. He’s also written for overseas publications including the Sunday Times in London. He spends nearly half his year overseas researching feature articles. Educated at the Queensland University of Technology, he’s been a working journalist for 17 years. Despite all the travel, he’s still hopeless at dealing with jet-lag.

Chris Taylor

Chris Taylor was born in London and grew up in Bristol and Brisbane. He travelled in India, Southeast Asia, Japan and China at a young age, joining Lonely Planet in the late 1980s, after completing a degree in English literature and Chinese. He wrote guidebooks for Lonely Planet throughout the 1990s, working on city, country and regional guidebooks to China, Tibet, Tokyo, Japan and Southeast Asia among many others. He has been widely published in magazines and newspapers ranging from Time to The Age. More recently, he is the author of Harvest Season, a culture-clash novel about the travel scene in remote, mountainous Southwest China, a region he was based in for seven years. He is currently based in Bangkok, where he works as a regional editorial consultant for the Asian Development Bank, while also writing a new novel set in Southwest China, a region that, he says, continues to fascinate him.

Brian Thacker

Brian Thacker is a travel author/freelance travel writer from Melbourne. He has written seven travel books including ASTW 2009 Travel Book of the Year ’Sleeping Around – a couch surfing tour of the globe’. His books have been translated into German, Mandarin, Thai and Slovenian. So far he has visited 78 countries (79 if you count Tasmania).



Natasha von Geldern

Natasha von Geldern is a travel writer, editor and blogger who is passionate about making the pages of the atlas real, one step at a time. After years of travelling and writing for fun, she left her legal career to study for a journalism qualification in London. Since then she has been the editor of online travel magazine Travelbite.co.uk and now as a freelance travel writer contributes to Wild Junket Magazine, Yahoo! Total Travel and Travel Wire Asia. Upcoming projects include e-books and a digital travel magazine. She has now visited 49 countries, with a mixture of budget backpacking, ex-pat living, short breaks and press trips around the world. She blogs at www.worldwanderingkiwi.com and tweets about all things travel @NvGtravels.

Maya Ward

Maya Ward is devoted to travelling the wonderful places that often exist at our doorsteps, while working variously as an urban designer, permaculture teacher and environmental educator, musician, and writer. Her book The Comfort of Water : A River Pilgrimage, the story of the journey rarely taken, has recently gone into second edition.


Simon Westcott

Mr & Mrs Smith Asia Pacific co-founder and managing director Simon Westcott grew up in London,

but has called Melbourne and the Victorian Goldfields home for over 10 years.

Educated at Oxford and in the US, he is a former global publisher and director of the Lonely Planet
group, and a regular contributor to online and print travel media, including Travel + Leisure, The Age
and The Sydney Morning Herald.

Simon’s wanderlust was first stirred as a teenager when he travelled to France, Lebanon, Peru and

Since then he has travelled extensively in Asia, Europe and The Americas and launched both Lonely
Planet in China and Mr & Mrs Smith in Asia Pacific.

When he’s not building a business or reviewing incognito for Smith, Simon is Chair of Malthouse
Theatre in Melbourne, Australia’s leading contemporary theatre company and a board member
with the Tasmanian Arts Advisory Board and Get Up! He also a past board member of the
Castlemaine State Festival and contemporary dance company, Chunky Move, and is an alumnus of
the Williamson Community Leadership Program in Victoria. He is also the co founder of The Dr Ben
Keith Myanmar Project in the Inle Lake area of Burma.

Since going in to partnership with Smith, Simon has travelled to Cambodia, Singapore, Laos,
Thailand, Vietnam, Hong Kong, Malaysia, Indonesia, Argentina, the United States, Austria, France,
Spain, Switzerland and of course the United Kingdom.

For further information please contact Alexandra Rutman at Mr & Mrs Smith:
e: Alexandra.rutman@smithhotels.com / 03 9419 6671

Tony Wheeler

Tony Wheeler is the co-founder of Lonely Planet Publications, started with Maureen Wheeler in late 1973, to publish Across Asia on the Cheap, the story of their trip from London to Australia. Since writing the first Lonely Planet guidebook 40 years ago travel has been a large part of Tony’s life. His latest forays into Congo DRC, Colombia, Haiti, Nauru, Pakistan, Palestine-Israel, Papua New Guinea and Zimbabwe are the subject of his forthcoming book, Dark Lands.
Tony and Maureen have been involved with the Australian Festival of Travel Writing since it began in 2008.

Kirk Willcox

Kirk Willcox is a former Tracks magazine editor. As a photojournalist, he has contributed to numerous publications including Rolling Stone and the Sydney Morning Herald. With Tom Carroll, he co-wrote the two-time world champion’s biography The Wave Within.  A former international marketing/communications manager with Quiksilver, Kirk is currently marketing/communications director for humanitarian organisation SurfAid.


Michael Williams

Michael Williams is the director of The Wheeler Centre, the world’s first public institution dedicated to the discussion and practice of books, writing and ideas. Michael grew up in a family of avid readers, teachers and campaigners for social justice – which ‘absolutely informed’ the way he sees the world. He always knew he wanted to work in books, but took a while to figure out how to make that into a job. He has worked as an editor for Text Publishing, as a literary scout in New York, as on radio broadcaster on Triple R’s Breakfasters, and has been at the Wheeler Centre since 2009. He lives in Brunswick with his wife and two children.

Jodie Willmer

Jodie Willmer is the CEO of Travellers Aid Australia, a not-for-profit organisation established in 1916 to help people who experience travel disadvantages because of disabilities and mobility challenges, or those who encounter unexpected emergencies – by providing vital travel related emergency relief services and dignified outcomes.

Jodie’s passion for travel started at the age of seven, when she was sent alone on country trains to visit relatives for the school holidays. In her spare time, Jodie volunteers as a broadcaster and for the past 16 years has hosted a weekly community radio travel program
“Detours “ on JOY 94.9 FM , heard by listeners all over the world. Jodie is an experienced public speaker, facilitator and MC.

Doris Zac

Doris Zac is a radio speaker and the creator of the ‘Capital in the World’ project, dedicated to travel and to the stories of Italians living abroad. She is the presenter of the web series ‘Vivo Così’: a trip around the world, listening to the stories of Italians who live in other countries. For the last three years Doris has been traveling with the Lonely Planet team reporting live on radio and electronic media the wonders (and other aspects) of the world.

Xu Zhiyuan

Xu Zhiyuan (許知遠) was born in Beijing in 1976 and graduated from Peking University with a degree in Computer Science. He later became a reporter and started writing about contemporary China. Xu was chief editor at the Economic Observer and is currently editor-in-chief of the Chinese edition of Business Weekly and writes columns for Yazhou Zhoukan  and the British Financial Times. One of China’s best-known public intellectuals, Xu is distinguished by his firm critical stance, profound cultural background, and idiosyncratic writing style. Xu was a visiting scholar at the University of Cambridge from 2009 to 2010. Xu has published 11 books so far, including The Totalitarian Temptation  (极权的诱惑), All the Sad Young Men (那些郁怅的轻人), Stranger in his Motherland, The NASDAQ Generation (纳斯达克的一代), and An Immature Nation (未成熟的國家).  His latest book is A Wanderer’s World (一个游荡者的世界). He is the co-founder of One-Way Street Library. http://paper-republic.org/news/newsitems/175/

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