Award Winners 2017

Eleventh Annual Solas Awards Winners

Announced March 1, 2017

Grand Prize for Best Travel Story of the Year

Gold ($1,000)
Jordan’s Bull by James Michael Dorsey

Silver ($750)
Bubble-Up by Katherine Jamieson

Bronze ($500)
The Remnants of War: A Meditation on Peleliu by Anna Vodicka


Category Award Winners

Adventure Travel
The best story of high adventure, danger, or physical challenge
Gold: Conversations with a Cave Man by James Michael Dorsey
Silver: Lost in the Abaddon Silver Mine by Steven Law
Bronze: Iceland’s Ghost Fleet by Eliot Stein

Animal Encounter
The best account of meeting snakes, elephants, rhinos, gorillas, birds, or other creatures
Gold: From Tsetses to Chimps by David Robinson
Silver: In His Domain by James Michael Dorsey
Bronze: Swamp Buggy by Shelly Rivoli

Bad Trip
The best account of when things go wrong, or the shadow side of a culture or individual
Gold: Out into Paris by Erin Byrne
Silver: White Water Death by Steve Gardiner
Bronze: Like Dust in a Storm by Sivani Babu

Cruise Story
The best account of a trip on the water in any vessel, from the smallest kayak to the largest ship
Gold: A Modern Viking Saga by Rob Torkildson
Silver: Magic on the Nile by Rosie Cohan
Bronze: No award

Culture and Ideas
The best story or essay about how art, history, currents events, fashion, or music affected a traveler or a trip
Gold: Some Vague Stars to the South by Dave Zoby
Silver: Three Afghan Tales by Taylor Jennings
Bronze: Seville’s Most Holy Week by Anne Sigmon

Destination Story
The best story about a place that captures its essence and reveals its attractions, making the reader want to go there
Gold: Sacred Spaces by Francesmarie Coke
Silver: Growing Up in a Fable by Robert Andersen
Bronze: Oklahoma’s Last Stop by Robert Reid

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: Nirvana’s Horizon: Discovering the Soul of the Golden Land as a Buddhist Monk in Myanmar by Kevin Dimetres
Silver: Hallasan: Hiking the Highest Peak of South Korea by Laura Tarpley
Bronze: Shakespeare Slipped Through My Fingers by M. Terry Bowman

Elder Travel
The best story from a traveler 65 years of age or older
Gold: The Elevator in Rome by Bill Zarchy
Silver: The Savonoski Standoff by Sharon Morris
Bronze: Hassan’s Wedding by Rosie Cohan

Family Travel
The best story about traveling with family of all generations grandparents, parents, children, cousins, siblings or journeying to discover roots
Gold: Making the Great Migration by Sarah Enelow
Silver: Perfect. Only Better by Steven Law
Bronze: Warp Thread by Leslie Oh

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: Monks and Monkey Poop on the Mountain by James Michael Dorsey
Silver: Coffee, Tea and Me by Scott Morley
Bronze: Maggots in My Scrotum by David Robinson

Love Story
The best account of love or romance on the road
Gold: The Uncertain Certainty of Leaving by Katherine Harding
Silver: Summer Paramour by Bill Zarchy
Bronze: Under the Cedars of Parc Perdrix by Becky Band Jain

Men’s Travel
The best account by a man of a testosterone-fueled encounter or experience on the road
Gold: Kingpin by James Michael Dorsey
Silver: Paddling the Sewershed by Brice Particelli
Bronze: Adventure on Whitetail Peak by Steve Gardiner

Most Unforgettable Character
The story that best captures how one individual or group of people affected a traveler in a meaningful way
Gold: The Ancient Storyteller of Morocco by Erin Byrne
Silver: Go Out to Come In by Maxine Hedrington
Bronze: A Cape Breton Odyssey 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: The Swankiest Rodent in Cartagena by Darrin DuFord
Silver: An Azure Year by Marian Exall
Bronze: Cracking Shells by Lola Akinmade Akerstrom

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: Into Celtic Twilight by Erin Byrne
Silver: How Separate Are We Really? by Mag Dimond
Bronze: Learning Dignity by Amy Hanson

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: Litmus Test by Bill Grant
Silver: No award
Bronze: No award

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: Boston Heat by Steve Gardiner
Silver: Amidst Royalty and Rubbish by Tom Joseph
Bronze: A River Runs Through Us by Laura Fraser

Travel and Transformation
The best story about the inner journey or pilgrimage, whether religious, mystical, psychological, or emotional
Gold: What the Walls Taught Me by Darrin DuFord
Silver: On and Off the Pilgrim Path by Fred Taylor
Bronze: Glue by Gerald Yeung

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: Life Sentence by Steven Law
Silver: A Stone for Henry Leman by James Michael Dorsey
Bronze: Backtracks by Ellen Kempler

Women’s Travel
The best account by a woman of an encounter or experience on the road
Gold: In Search of the Shining Moment by Anne Sigmon
Silver: My First Visit to Africa by Rosemary Hanrahan
Bronze: Dancing on the Wine Dark Sea by Diane LeBow

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: A New Island by John Shakespear
Silver: No award
Bronze: No award

Travelers' Tales