Lonely Planet co-founder set to speak at travel writing festival

The co-founder of one of the world’s most influential series of travel guides will be among the guests at this year’s Immrama Festival of Travel Writing in Lismore.

Now in its 10th year, the festival has once again secured a diverse and renowned range of writers to its schedule and will run in the Co Waterford town from Jun 7 until Jun 10.

A first for the event this year is a book edited by Paul Clements, which features contributions from some of the writers who have spoken at Immrama since its 2003 inception.

The Blue Sky Bends Over All will be launched in Lismore on Jun 7. Mr Clements is a former BBC journalist and a contributing editor to the Insight and Fodor series of guidebooks, as well as the author of several books.

One of the highlights will be the contribution of Tony Wheeler who, with his wife Maureen almost 40 years ago, started the Lonely Planet Guidebooks which have become a “must-read” for millions of travellers.

In 1973, the couple published Across Asia on the Cheap, recalling their six-month low-budget journey overland from London to Sydney. It was followed in 1975 with Southeast Asia on a Shoestring.

From this modest start, Lonely Planet grew to be the largest independent guidebook publisher in the world with over 500 titles in print and more than 500 staff.

A range of travel writers including Immrama guest speaker Jan Morris, whose work since she climbed part of Mount Everest in 1953 has won awards and seen her featuring in both The Times and the Guardian, will also be in attendance.

The current focus on China as a growing economic power is expected to generate additional interest in the Immrama talk by British travel writer and novelist Colin Thubron.

The Mandarin-speaking writer’s first book Mirror to Damascus was published in 1967, while books on Lebanon and Jerusalem also followed.

Also joining the festival for their book launches are Waterford journalist and writer Ciaran Murphy launching What Happens on Tour and NUI Galway Professor Eoin Bourke, who will unveil Poor Green Erin, a compilation of translated 18th and 19th century travel writing about Ireland by German and Austrian authors.

British writer and broadcaster Anthony Sattin will also speak at Immrama. He has spent much of his life travelling in the Middle East and North Africa. His work has appeared in a variety of newspapers and he has also made several programmes for BBC Radio 4.

Mr Sattin’s books include The Pharaoh’s Shadow, The Gates of Africa and A Winter on the Nile.

* Full festival details are available on the website, www.lismoreimmrama.com

More in this section