The Best British Travel Writing of the 21st Century Ed. by Jessica Vincent

4 out of 5 stars

A copy of this was provided free of charge from the publisher in return for an honest review.

Those of us who read travel writing, have a familiar canon to choose from the British set, Thubron, Raban, Thesiger, Young and Leigh Fermor. These guys and they were almost always guys in those days have written some really good books that still need to be read by those wanting to discover the world from their armchairs.

But the world was changing and since the Covid pandemic, it has changed immeasurably again. The writers that are making waves, following footpaths and rediscovering this dynamic world are bringing different voices and perspectives to the body of literature. For this collection, four editors, Levison Wood, Monisha Rajesh, Simon Willmore and Jessica Vincent, have chosen articles and short essays by a whole variety of authors.

I thought that it was a great introduction to the latest crop of writers that are making the travel writing genre their own now. I thought that the editors had pulled together an interesting variety of subjects and most importantly a diverse crop of authors for this book. I have read some of these writers before, but there are others in here that I have not come across until now.

I had a couple of minor issues with the collection though. I felt it would have been nice to have a little more of an introduction to the authors and the selected piece just before you went on to read it. I would have also liked to have seen some newly commissioned items in amongst the previously published work or extracts taken from books from authors like Gail Simmonds, Lara Prior-Palmer and Isambard Wilkinson, for example. I would recommend this if you want to discover new travel writing and I have another batch of writers to discover more from too.

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  1. Liz Dexter

    I’ve been considering this one, I’m glad it is as diverse as it looks although it sounds like more editorial/introductory information might have been useful.

    • Paul

      I think that you’d like it. Details like that make a difference, especially when introducing new authors to people.

  2. Tim Hannigan

    Nice review, Paul, and I think a really good point about the introductory bio and information to each piece – something noted for future reference in case I ever get the chance to edit a travel collection!

    • Paul

      Thank you, Tim. It just seemed slightly daft to have them at the back!

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