In one of his Rough Planet Blogs, “You’re never really writing what you want to”, Tom humorously complained that he never got to write for himself, an aim confirmed in his 2006 UCAS interview, “In the long term, like most journos, I’d really like to write a ‘proper’ book or two”. For some time the family and Lonely Planet discussed the possibility of a scheme to fund aspiring travel writers, and created a charitable trust to take such a plan forward. Multiple changes of ownership of Lonely Planet and evolving family circumstances frustrated this plan, and we were delighted to reach agreement with Jesus College Cambridge to make the Trust funds the basis of a College scheme for travel writing grants for undergraduates and alumni.
The Tom Parkinson Travel Writing Bursary will be the first College award for graduates, under its new scheme for providing career support and mentoring. We are immensely grateful to Sonita Alleyne Master of Jesus College, and to the College Development Office staff, for making this possible. Three awards were made to recent graduates in 2022-3, as well as a number of student travel grants. Links to the writing submitted or published by the recipients will be added to this page as the scheme progresses.
Sylvie Lewis has written A Day in the Life of Dublin Town, recording her experiences on Bloomsday, Dublin’s annual commemoration of James Joyce’s Ulysses, funded by a travel grant.
Leah Yeger (graduated 2019) is the first bursary recipient to publish, with Boundaries of Belonging: Traversing Jordan’s Borders and Beyond, the opening piece in a series on the Middle East (now made much more topical by recent events).