The Penguin Book of Women’s New Travel
Almost ten years ago, Sara Wheeler and I were sharing a bowl
of risotto and wondering where all the women travel writers were.
Men were stomping all over the place, and writing about their
absurd adventures. It wasn’t that women weren’t doing
it – and writing about it – it’s just that
they hardly ever met up even when their routes crossed. We decided
to change that, and formed the Amazonians, an informal group
of women travel writers who met once a month in a seedy central
London pub for gossip and a pint. (We didn’t drink halves.)
From this informal group, the idea of a book of women’s
travel writing arose. We quickly determined three things. First,
that every contribution would be an original piece of writing.
This would not be a collection of reprints from famous women
of the past. Secondly, that it would include places most distant
as well as most familiar. (My contribution was on Folkestone,
Kent.) And thirdly, that we wouldn’t only ask travel writers
to contribute. Novelists, journalists and even one actress (Imogen
Stubbs) wrote chapters. We hoped that such a broad range of locations
and style would break travel writing out of its ghetto.