Destination Italy: Write about 'a close encounter' to win / Rex Features


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 and publication of the winning entry in the travel section of the paper.

In addition, the winner will earn a commission from the IoS 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 This prize can be won by either a previously published or unpublished writer.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 award of a place on a travel-writing weekend run by Travellers' Tales, the UK's leading training agency for travel writing, will also be given to an unpublished writer. Every entry to the competition will be entered for the first prize; only unpublished writers will be eligible for the special award.

Bradt Travel Guides is the publisher of pioneering guides to offbeat destinations and guides with unique perspectives on more popular places. The competition is open to anyone resident in the UK. The theme this year is "a close encounter". Entries must be original, previously unpublished, and based on personal experience. The minimum length is 600 words; the maximum 800 words. The prize is a holiday for two to Abruzzo, donated by Railbookers, departing before the end of September 2013.

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The special award for unpublished writers is a place on any travel-writing weekend in 2012 or 2013 run by Travellers' Tales ( The award does not include transport to the venue.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


To enter, go to