Libraries and the sense of place

Posted Posted in People & Politics, Place & Travel

With National Libraries Day and the Speak Up For Libraries parliamentary lobbying day upon us again, I’ve been thinking about a little-recognised aspect of public libraries and what they do for us, in housing resources that contribute to our sense of place. Google ‘library’ and ‘local studies’ or ‘local history’, and you’re likely to find […]

The silence of the monks – a day out on Caldey Island

Posted Posted in Place & Travel, Religion & Spirituality

There’s nothing like visiting a monastery for a good day out. At least, that’s what they think in Lebanon, where mountain-top monasteries are a popular visitor attraction. Go to one of the big, Maronite institutions, and you’ll find families and coach parties circulating between the various chapels and shrines, making votive offerings to saints and […]

Introducing the ‘travella’ – the short form travelogue

Posted Posted in Place & Travel, Writing & Publishing

Travel writing is in crisis, for at least a couple of reasons. Firstly, it reflects – perhaps even amplifies – the wider crisis afflicting journalism: failing media outlets, derisory writing fees and an editorial culture that favours puff pieces over independent reportage. ‘The dream is over and the quickening plunge into poverty is unsettling,’ explains […]