Meet the winners.

Writers, wordsmiths and aspiring scribes, again you presented us with the monumental task of reading and judging some truly evocative, entertaining and inspiring essays.

As many of you know, each year we try to shake things up a bit and this year we presented you with an entirely new kind of brief - to write about a Travel Discovery (more commonly known as the 'hidden gem'), a specific place or experience from your travels that you think others would enjoy and replicate based on your inside knowledge.

We were looking for entries that contained both a story and a singular Travel Discovery - the information along with the narrative. While we were introduced to some awesome places in the judging process, many of you missed the point of the brief entirely - and presented us with a well-crafted story only. And no matter how good your writing skills are, if you can't follow the brief, you can't do the job.

On the whole this year, we were very impressed with your writing skills and your essays and encourage each of you to keep honing your craft - and stay tuned for more opportunities from us in the future!

Every year we struggle to decide on who we feel might benefit the most from the assignment and from our mentor's time and experience. This is incredibly difficult because it involves finding the right balance between writing ability, intent and trying to interpret where someone hopes their writing will take them in life. This is after all, not a writing competition, but a scholarship opportunity. There are many of you that we would happily send off to be mentored by John Vlahides, but in the end, we could only choose three.

So, without further delay, please join us in commending this year's winners and the shortlisted entrants. Evelyn, Sarah and Neel will be joining Lonely Planet author John Vlahides in a 3-day travel writing workshop in San Francisco followed by solo 10-day writing assignments across the U.S.

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The Winners

Congratulations to Evelyn Hollow (UK), Neel Dhanesha (USA), and Sarah O'Donnell (UK).

Evelyn's entry had a very strong opening and gave readers a clear window on her life, who she is, and why we should listen to her. She’s got real raw talent and managed to convey both the events of her story, and how these had a lasting personal affect.
Judge's Comments
Neel began with a good question that made us want to keep reading - are we in Switzerland or France? – just the kind of question that makes for good travel writing. Though the piece could be improved with some more linguistic color, it clearly conveyed an unusual story, and painted a lovely picture of an unexpected discovery.
Judge's Comments
Sarah's writing was concise and direct, and pulled us right into the story. The work succeeded because it didn't try to do too much. The narrative was cohesive and clear. We also liked that her travel discovery was not only about a place, but also about an inward journey.
Judge's Comments

The Shortlist

Congratulations to the following shortlisted applicants.

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