Award Winners 2012

Sixth Annual Solas Awards Winners

Announced March 1, 2012

Grand Prize for Best Travel Story of the Year

Gold ($1,000)
Protected by Peter Wortsman

Silver ($750)
Spirals: Memoir of a Celtic Soul by Erin Byrne

Bronze ($500)
Mysterious Fast Mumble by Bruce Berger

Category Award Winners

Adventure Travel: The best story of high adventure, danger, or physical challenge
Gold: Rabies by John Calderazzo
Silver: Beyond Timbuktu by James Dorsey
Bronze: Climbing Vaea by Catherine Watson

Animal Encounter: The best account of meeting snakes, elephants, rhinos, gorillas, birds, sharks, and other creatures in the wild
Gold: Land of Kaleidoscopic Shadows by Carolyn Kraus
Silver: How Not to Die in an Elephant Rampage by Wendy Inouye
Bronze: Touched by a Gorilla by Kim Brown Seely

Bad Trip: The best account of when things go wrong, or the shadow side of a culture or individual
Gold: Awakening the Dragon by Carolyn Kraus
Silver: Dreaming of Djurjura Café by Rosalie Justus
Bronze: Travels with Emmy by Elizabeth Creely

Cruise Story: The best account of a trip on the water in any vessel, from the smallest kayak to the largest ship
Gold: Force 10! by Lois Hofmann
Silver: Persepolis by Laura Lee Huttenbach
Bronze: Death and Life on the Nile by Veronica Hackethal

Culture and Ideas: The best story or essay about how art, history, currents events, fashion, or music affected a traveler or a trip
Gold: The Tundra by Kathleen Spivack
Silver: Becoming Dostoyevsky in St. Petersburg by Veronica Hackethal
Bronze: How I Missed the Punchline in Russia by Kevin McCaughey

Destination: The best story about a place that captures its essence and reveals its attractions, making the reader want to go there
Gold: Surreal for Real by Tim Leffel
Silver: No Agenda by Kim Brown Seely
Bronze:  Embargoed Brothers by Tim Weed

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: My Friend, Moses by James Dorsey
Silver: One of Them by Mary Anne Mercer
Bronze: Dear Madam Renaud by Erin Byrne

Elder Travel: The best story from a traveler 65 years of age or older
Gold: Sea Change by Judith Works
Silver: Warm Enough by Suzanne LaFetra
Bronze: Grandma Steps in by Margaret Wagner

Family Travel: The best story about traveling with family of all generations grandparents, parents, children, cousins, siblings or journeying to discover roots
Gold: Paris, with Parents by Colette O’Connor
Silver: Out of Smyrna by Gloria Kirchheimer
Bronze: Côco-da-Bahia by Eleanor Stanford

Funny Travel: The funniest account of a misadventure or an essay about how the world can make us laugh at ourselves and those around us
Gold: I Had a Passion for the Christ by Melanie Hamlett
Silver: Mama Ibeji by Patricia Dreyfus
Bronze: L’Epiphanie by Dominick Domingo

Love Story: The best account of love or romance on the road
Gold: Learning to Pray by Angie Chuang
Silver: The Kimono by Jeanne Stark
Bronze: On the Macal by Mary Jo McConahay

Men’s Travel: The best account by a man of a testosterone-fueled encounter or experience on the road
Gold: Third World Tailors Make Suits, Third World Tailors Make Men by Luke Armstrong
Silver: Into the Valley of Life by Chris Epting
Bronze: Googling David by Bill Zarchy

Most Unforgettable Character: The story that best captures how one individual or group of people affected a traveler in a meaningful way
Gold: Rada’s Bloom by Lisa Alpine
Silver: To Find a King by James Dorsey
Bronze: Seite Sur by Justine Hanson

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: It’s the Sauce by Mary Jo McConahay
Silver: Meat My Love by Lola Akerstrom
Bronze: Vanishing Act by Barbara Erwine

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: The Ghosts of Alamos by Lavinia Spalding
Silver: The Healing Heights of Machu Picchu by Erin Byrne
Bronze: Letting Go on the Ganges by Kristin Zibell

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: Fear and Bitter Justice by Carol Beddo
Silver: Summer Heat by Kathleen Spivack
Bronze: Pane and Pecorino by Linda Lappin

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: A French Market Essai by Julie Farrar
Silver: Madam You Are Not Good by Megan Lyles
Bronze: Waiting for Your Ship to Come In by Tom Bentley

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: Sidesaddle Girls at a Mexican Rodeo by Tim Leffel
Silver: Ghana Will Always Win by Joshua Berman
Bronze: Showdown at Shinagawa by Bill Zarchy

Travel and Transformation: The best story about the inner journey or pilgrimage, whether religious, mystical, psychological, or emotional
Gold: Beneath the Surface by Lucy McCauley
Silver: Walking to Nemiña by Beebe Bahrami
Bronze: The Troubles by Suzanne LaFetra

Women’s Travel: The best account by a woman of an encounter or experience on the road
Gold: Down a Stream in Iran and Up a Creek in Spain by Beebe Bahrami
Silver: My Ethiopian Tent by Carol Beddo
Bronze: Lost and Liberated by Kimberley Lovato

Young Traveler: The best story from a young person (aged 18-25) taking time off to travel between high school and college, or during breaks
Gold: Batumi: a first glimpse of the new Georgia by Stephen Robert Morse
Silver: Crashing Weddings and Beehives in Turkey’s Wild Northeast by Catherine Jaffee
Bronze: If I hear One More “Ciao Bella,” I’m Going to Scream by Tracy O’Neil

Travelers' Tales