Award Winners 2019

Thirteenth Annual Solas Awards Winners

Announced March 1, 2019

Grand Prize for Best Travel Story of the Year

Gold ($1000)
The Mystery of the Sahara by David Robinson

Silver ($750)
The Citroën and the Pomegranate by Matthew Félix

Bronze ($500)
The House on KVR Swamy Road by Sivani Babu


Category Award Winners

Adventure Travel
The best story of high adventure, danger, or physical challenge
Gold: Paddling Home to Antarctica by Sivani Babu
Silver: Exhale, Then Move by Sally Bjork
Bronze: Deep Respect by Steven Law

Animal Encounter
The best account of meeting snakes, elephants, rhinos, gorillas, birds, or other creatures
Gold: The Place Where Norman Slept by Teresa O’Kane
Silver: What Whales Have Taught Me by James Michael Dorsey
Bronze: Hidden Doors in Panama by Lisa Boice

Bad Trip
The best account of when things go wrong, or the shadow side of a culture or individual
Gold: This Never Happens by Anne Lowrey
Silver: Oro by Nathaniel Smith
Bronze: It Ain’t Over Till It’s… by Matthew Félix

Cruise Story
The best account of a trip on the water in any vessel, from the smallest kayak to the largest ship
Gold: The Enduring Age of Exploration by Sivani Babu
Silver: A Reef’s Barrier by Michele Bigley
Bronze: Being on a Boat in Iceland by Nancy Dorman-Hickson

Culture and Ideas
The best story or essay about how art, history, currents events, fashion, or music affected a traveler or a trip
Gold: That Other Hijab Story by Maryah Converse
Silver: Letter from Kosovo by Brian Sneeden
Bronze: Inshallah by Carmen Kennedy

Destination Story
The best story about a place that captures its essence and reveals its attractions, making the reader want to go there
Gold: Strangers in the Bush by Susan Bloch
Silver: Moroccan and a Half by Mike Bernhardt
Bronze: Landing in Cuba by Anne Woods

Doing Good or the Kindness of Strangers
The most inspiring tale of aid, comfort, philanthropy, or caring for others in faraway places, or of being the recipient of a stranger’s largesse
Gold: Nuns on a Train by Ashley Seashore
Silver: Ganesh: Remover of Obstacles on an Indian Train by Anne Lowrey
Bronze: The Baby by Susan Pomeroy

Elder Travel
The best story from a traveler 65 years of age or older
Gold: My Palestinian Pillows by James Michael Dorsey
Silver: Our Most Harrowing Time or GPS Goes Rogue by Michael Lewis
Bronze: Saysha: What Happened? by David Bishop

Family Travel
The best story about traveling with family of all generations: grandparents, parents, children, cousins, siblings or journeying to discover roots
Gold: Of Dreams and Ruins by Teresa Janssen
Silver: Song of the Sirens by Diane LeBow
Bronze: Alive in the World by Julie Pesano

Funny Travel
The funniest account of a misadventure or an essay about how the world can make us laugh at ourselves and at those around us
Gold: Almost Blond in Nepal by Nancy Bartley
Silver: No Stopping by Mathew Félix
Bronze: The Twerking Nun of Korce by Lisa Alpine

Love Story
The best account of love or romance on the road
Gold: Two Buffaloes by Kasra Kangarloo
Silver: Songbird by Audrey Nguyen
Bronze: Ogilbee by Jennifer Lutz

Men’s Travel
The best account by a man of a testosterone-fueled encounter or experience on the road
Gold: The Dunes by Matthew Félix
Silver: Under Siege by Lance Mason
Bronze: Listening to the Desert by James Michael Dorsey

Most Unforgettable Character
The story that best captures how one individual or group of people affected a traveler in a meaningful way
Gold: Marshall Willoughby’s World by Sivani Babu
Silver: Bogside Tutorial by Eileen Cunniffe
Bronze: The Raven-Feeder’s Island by Keith Skinner

Travel and Food
The best story where food or drink plays a role in introducing the traveler to a foreign culture or new friends
Gold: Anchipol Miet Apay by Angelique Stevens
Silver: Ramadan in Rize by Andrew Jones
Bronze: A Tale of Two Vermouths by Laura Fraser

Travel and Healing
The best story about visits with shamans, healers, holy men and women, or holy sites in search of a cure for illness or psychological malady
Gold: Grounded by Jenna Scatena
Silver: Behind the Façade by Tania Amochaev
Bronze: Learning to Walk Fully in Thailand by Luke Armstrong

Travel Memoir 
The best story that draws heavily on the writer’s past to make a point or reveal the lessons of a lifetime
Gold: Ole in Paris by Lisa Alpine
Silver: In Search of Baraka by MJ Pramik
Bronze: No Pampers North of the Limpopo by Teresa O’Kane

Travel and Shopping 
The best account of a shopping, bargaining, or haggling experience in a market, bazaar, outlet, or mall, anywhere in the world
Gold: The Taming of the Saleswoman by Colette O’Connor
Silver: ¡Ole! by MJ Pramik
Bronze: High Times With My 420 Tours by Skye Mayring

Travel and Sports 
The best account of a sports activity while traveling, such as climbing, rafting, sailing, trekking, swimming, kayaking, canoeing, fishing, skiing, baseball, Frisbee, polo, basketball
Gold: Wrestling in Senegal by Rob Torkildson
Silver: Odds Are by Suzanne Roberts
Bronze: At the Crack of the Bat by MJ Pramik

Travel and Transformation
The best story about the inner journey or pilgrimage, whether religious, mystical, psychological, or emotional
Gold: Tomorrow by Kimberly Lovato
Silver: Just a Painting by Susan Bloch
Bronze: Dancing with Duende by Mike Bernhardt

Women’s Travel
The best account by a woman of an encounter or experience on the road
Gold: Ghost in the Amazon by Laura Resau
Silver: An Encounter in Montparnasse by Marianne Bohr
Bronze: Hemingway, Cuba and Me by Anne Sigmon

Young Traveler
The best story from a young person (aged 18-25 at the time of writing) taking time off to travel between high school and college, or during breaks
Gold: The Oasis in the Sky by Sarah Benjamin
Silver: No award
Bronze: No award


Honorable Mention

Going the way of the Qivittoq by Lola Akerstrom
Where God, Anchovies and Flamenco Reside — Two Tales of Jerez by Lisa Alpine
Where Memory Starts by Tania Amochaev
Ice Bear by Sivani Babu
To the Point of the Wilderness by Sabine Bergmann
An Imposition of Greatness by James Michael Dorsey
Road Trip to the Future by Martha Ezell
Falling to Pieces by Mathew Félix
Overture, Curtain Lights by Matthew Félix
Verona by David Gehring
Curioser and Curioser by Laurie Glover
Here’s to You, Mr. Robinson by Bill Grant
Elixirs of Nature by Dustin Grinell
Abuela Could Be Arrested for Selling Elotes by Cem Gultekin
Mother-Daughter Collisions in Italy by Alison Konecki
Crumbs in an Egyptian Bedroom by Diane LeBow
Cuba: Machismo and Feminism Together at Last by Diane LeBow
Italian Bedtime Story by Diane LeBow
Cruising the Secret Beaches of Panama and Costa Rica by Tim Leffel
Scalded, Sanded and Smeared by Hudson Lindenberger
In-Flight Pain by Eddie Lueken
A Good Bit of Track by Lance Mason
This Time Not Paradise by Lance Mason
Travels with Guernica by Saundra Norton
The Old Petauke Road in Zimbabwe by Teresa O’Kane
The Rainy Season Red Lagoon Roads of Zambia by Teresa O’Kane
Cuba: It’s Complicated by MJ Pramik
Easter Joy Rising by MJ Pramik
Nun for a Day by MJ Pramik
Into the Arctic Silence by Jill K. Robinson
The Blackening by Keith Skinner
A Night at the Danish Theater by Ethelene Whitmire
Dog Years: Pop, Sophie, and the West Wing by Bill Zarchy
Bangkok, the Saudis, and the Jism Balls by Bill Zarchy
Sweet Home Shenyang by Bill Zarchy

Travelers' Tales