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Travel writing in crisis

William Dalrymple asks where all the great travel writers have gone. Isn’t the issue really that everyone has been everywhere? Now, we’re stuck with books about crossing the Artic on a pogo stick or bouncing across America on a spacehopper.

(What about Jan Morris? She’s still around.)

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Richard Davies

2 Responses to “Travel writing in crisis”

  1. May be there should be a sub category for travel writing fans and publsihers: expat lit. Or a “moved for money” section by work “slaves” not finding money in their own country, hence moving and living abroad. We have the accounts of the odd diplomats wife or the ashram seekers, nature lover etc, but traveling as once was done is probably out due to the “been there, done that” effect of modern times.

    Darymple himself spends half his life living in Delhi. Is he a travel writer in the old-fashioned sense? Is he a travel writer from the Indian perspective, or more so from the Scottish perspective (his home country) ?Is a traveler “allowed” to live where he travels? Or should it be a requirement? Is travel not an ongoing process with a clear beginning and end?
    May be the travel writing industry or its readers simply have to be more flexible with regard to whose stories they “allow into their kingdon”.
    Best wishes, from Bettina in Delhi (PS: love Jan Morris)

  2. Richard Davies

    Hi Bettina

    Travel writing is all over the place nowadays. There’s lots of books about living in another country that gets lumped into the travel genre. Jan Morris is a pure travel writer – she goes there and comes back to her home in Wales, and then writes her book.