Competition: Win a trip for two to Italy

Plus have your winning travel story published in The Independent on Sunday

The Independent on Sunday has once again joined forces with Bradt Travel Guides to offer readers the chance to win our travel-writing competition, with a top prize this year of a holiday for two to Abruzzo in Italy.

As these extracts show, last year's entries – all on the theme "Up the Creek" – reveal a wealth of travel knowledge, coupled with vivid description and an eye for what makes a good story. This year's theme is "A Close Encounter". To enter, go to bradtguides.com/travelwriting

 

To read full versions of last year's stories, go to bradtguides.com/travelwriting

The prizes and how to enter: Write a winning travel feature

The first prize this year is a holiday for two to Abruzzo, Italy, and publication of the winning entry in the travel section of The Independent on Sunday. In addition, the winner will earn a commission from the newspaper to write a piece about their prize visit to Abruzzo. This prize can be won by either a previously published or unpublished writer.

A special prize will also be awarded to an unpublished writer. This is a place on a travel-writing weekend run by Travellers' Tales, the UK's leading training agency for travel writing.

Every entry to the competition will be entered for the first prize; only unpublished writers will be eligible for the special prize.

To offer this opportunity, we have again teamed up with Bradt Travel Guides (bradtguides.com), publisher of pioneering guides to offbeat destinations and guides with unique perspectives on more popular places.

The competition is open to all writers resident in the UK, published or unpublished. The theme this year is "A Close Encounter". Entries must original, previously unpublished, and be based on personal experience relating to the theme. Minimum length is 600 words; maximum length is 800 words.

The prize is a holiday for two to Abruzzo, donated by Railbookers, departing before the end of September 2013. Abruzzo is located in central Italy and stretches from the heart of the Apennines to the Adriatic Sea, allowing visitors the chance to explore coastal gems and mountain hideaways. Railbookers specialises in tailor-made holidays and city breaks throughout Europe and beyond. It combines hotels with rail travel and offers the freedom to choose where and when to go. Railbookers' list of Italian destinations includes cities as well as places that are more off the beaten track.

The itinerary for the prize holiday is one night at the four-star Hotel Internazionale Bologna followed by five nights at the four-star Castello Chiola – a stately castle on top of a hill nestled within the medieval town of Loreto Aprutino. The prize also includes breakfast, Avis group B car hire for five days, return flights from London to Bologna with British Airways and a return train from Bologna to Pescara.

The special prize for unpublished writers is a place on any travel-writing weekend in 2012 or 2013 run by Travellers' Tales (travellerstales.org). The prize does not include transport to the venue.

The judges will include Hilary Bradt, Donald Greig and Adrian Phillips of Bradt Travel Guides, Jonathan Lorie of Travellers' Tales and Ben Ross, travel editor of The Independent on Sunday. The winners will be announced at an event held at Stanfords, the UK's leading travel bookshop. The closing date for entries to reach us is noon on Friday 15 June 2012. For full competition rules, go to independent.co.uk/bradtcomp.

To enter, go to bradtguides.com/travelwriting

The disappearing beach

By Simon Duncan

"The harbour is renowned for shipwrecks. Over the centuries, sandbars have lurked beneath the surface to topple unsuspecting explorers. Now they are exposed and we hop from one to another. We are kings of soft small islands. Pools have been created in the low tide and we nudge the trapped fish with our toes and irritate the flitting colours. My brother and I are intrepid explorers again, an echo of our childhood holidays."

Summer in the valley

By Sylvia Dubery

"Inside the car, we are cocooned in a cool air-conditioned microclimate, which is draining the petrol away but outside is a furnace. Every road sign is a metaphor for the hopelessness this land offered the ghosts of doomed pioneers. Funeral Mountains, Dead Man's Pass and Last Chance Canyon. It's like a devil's word-association game with an edge of reality – because if we run out of petrol, we're really up the creek."

The art of stillness

By Dawn Curtis

"I thought I knew stillness. When the electricity goes off in my village and the merengue music stops mid-step; when I spent a night in a tent in the North African desert; when we pulled out of the port earlier this evening and left behind the machinery and the men loading cargo ships bound for Venezuela. But there had always been some background noise to reassure me that I hadn't been struck deaf ... Not now. The engine has died and it's too dark to fix it, so we are waiting for daylight."

In the holy city of Sanliurfa

By Eithne Nightingale

"A turbaned shopkeeper points down an alley. I rush past handmade shoes, pots and pans, silks and sheepskins with barely a glance. I turn right into Blacksmith Alley, where old men brandish hot pokers taken out from glowing embers. I turn left into Coppersmith Alley, where young boys hammer intricate inlays on bowls and tea trays, pepper grinders and coffee pots. The sound is deafening. Local women turn to stare at a foreign woman rushing through the bazaar with wild hair and a billowing skirt."

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
a clockwork orange, stanley kubrick
film
Extras
The Tesco Hudl2: An exceptional Android tablet that's powerful, well-built and outstanding value
indybest

Life and Style
food + drinkAuthor DBC Pierre presents his guide to the morning after
News
Sarah Silverman (middle) with sister Reform Rabbi Susan Silverman (right) and sister actress Laura Silverman (left) at Jerusalem's Western Wall for feminist Hanuka candle-lighting ceremony
peopleControversial comedian stages pro-equality Hanukkah lighting during a protest at Jerusalem's Wailing Wall
Arts and Entertainment
The Bach Choir has been crowned the inaugural winner of Sky Arts’ show The Great Culture Quiz
arts + ents140-year-old choir declared winner of Sky Arts' 'The Great Culture Quiz'
Life and Style
food + drink
Travel
ebookHow to enjoy the perfect short break in 20 great cities
Independent Travel Videos
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in Amsterdam
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in Giverny
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in St John's
Independent Travel Videos
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Travel

    Investigo: Finance Analyst

    £240 - £275 per day: Investigo: Support the global business through in-depth a...

    Ashdown Group: Data Manager - £Market Rate

    Negotiable: Ashdown Group: Data Manager - MySQL, Shell Scripts, Java, VB Scrip...

    Ashdown Group: Application Support Analyst - Bedfordshire/Cambs border - £32k

    £27000 - £32000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Application Support Analyst - near S...

    Recruitment Genius: Class 1 HGV Driver

    £23000 - £27000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This successful group of compan...

    Day In a Page

    Homeless Veterans appeal: 'You look for someone who's an inspiration and try to be like them'

    Homeless Veterans appeal

    In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
    Could cannabis oil reverse the effects of cancer?

    Could cannabis oil reverse effects of cancer?

    As a film following six patients receiving the controversial treatment is released, Kate Hilpern uncovers a very slippery issue
    The Interview movie review: You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here

    The Interview movie review

    You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here
    Serial mania has propelled podcasts into the cultural mainstream

    How podcasts became mainstream

    People have consumed gripping armchair investigation Serial with a relish typically reserved for box-set binges
    Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up for hipster marketing companies

    Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up

    Kevin Lee Light, aka "Jesus", is the newest client of creative agency Mother while rival agency Anomaly has launched Sexy Jesus, depicting the Messiah in a series of Athena-style poses
    Rosetta space mission voted most important scientific breakthrough of 2014

    A memorable year for science – if not for mice

    The most important scientific breakthroughs of 2014
    Christmas cocktails to make you merry: From eggnog to Brown Betty and Rum Bumpo

    Christmas cocktails to make you merry

    Mulled wine is an essential seasonal treat. But now drinkers are rediscovering other traditional festive tipples. Angela Clutton raises a glass to Christmas cocktails
    5 best activity trackers

    Fitness technology: 5 best activity trackers

    Up the ante in your regimen and change the habits of a lifetime with this wearable tech
    Paul Scholes column: It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves

    Paul Scholes column

    It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves
    Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

    Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

    Club World Cup kicked into the long grass by the continued farce surrounding Blatter, Garcia, Russia and Qatar
    Frank Warren column: 2014 – boxing is back and winning new fans

    Frank Warren: Boxing is back and winning new fans

    2014 proves it's now one of sport's biggest hitters again
    Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton: The power dynamics of the two first families

    Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton

    Karen Tumulty explores the power dynamics of the two first families
    Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley with a hotbed of technology start-ups

    Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley

    The Swedish capital is home to two of the most popular video games in the world, as well as thousands of technology start-ups worth hundreds of millions of pounds – and it's all happened since 2009
    Did Japanese workers really get their symbols mixed up and display Santa on a crucifix?

    Crucified Santa: Urban myth refuses to die

    The story goes that Japanese store workers created a life-size effigy of a smiling "Father Kurisumasu" attached to a facsimile of Our Lord's final instrument of torture
    Jennifer Saunders and Kate Moss join David Walliams on set for TV adaptation of The Boy in the Dress

    The Boy in the Dress: On set with the stars

    Walliams' story about a boy who goes to school in a dress will be shown this Christmas