Michael Palin describes his outstanding travel writer award as a 'great honour'

Writer, presenter and actor Michael Palin has said it is a “great honour” to be awarded for his “outstanding contribution” to travel writing.

Formerly a Monty Python star, Michael’s work as a keen explorer, including his book and television series Around The World In 80 Days, launched him to the high table of British adventurers.

Since the book’s first release in 1989, his successes include Pole To Pole (1992), Full Circle (1997), New Europe (2007) and his BBC documentary series Himalaya and Brazil.

Michael also narrates the new Clangers show (Hannah McKay/PA)

Michael, 73, was presented with the lifetime prize by TV adventurer and photographer Levison Wood at the Edward Stanford Travel Writing Awards on Thursday.

“To be given an outstanding contribution award for travel writing is a great honour,” he said.

“To be presented with it by an outstanding writer and adventurer like Levison Wood is icing on the cake.

“The cake itself is that the award comes from Stanfords, the first port of call on all my travels, and one of the few truly indispensable shops in the world.”

Meanwhile, Levison’s Walking The Himalayas account earned him the Wanderlust prize for adventure travel book of the year.

Dedicating his exploring passion to the star’s 20-year travel career, he said: “Michael Palin was one of my childhood heroes, a real inspiration that led me to want to explore the world with the same enthusiasm and curiosity.”

Travel book of the year was claimed by Julian Sayarer’s Interstate: Hitchhiking Through The State Of A Nation, which he dedicated to “the immigrants”.

Judges described his “post-modern” report of his travels from New York to San Francisco towards the end of the Obama administration as loaded with “passion and anger”.

Julian gave an angry and passionate account of his American adventure (Stanford/PA)

Madeleine Thien beat previous Man Booker prize winners Julian Barnes and Yann Martel in the shortlist to secure the travel fiction award with her “epic and powerful” novel, Do Not Say We Have Nothing.

Other award-winners included Lauren Williams for her blog The Enjoyable Rut, while Tessa Kiros’s Provence To Pondicherry: Recipes From France And Faraway was named best food and travel book.

Edward Stanford Ltd boss, Tony Maher, said of the writers: “They show us the world beyond our own horizons, taking us with them on their journeys.

“Their words let us see, smell, touch and hear from our own armchair as they explore every inch of this incredible planet.

“They are an inspiration.”

All winners were presented with an antique globe trophy at the ceremony in London’s Olympia.

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