Our judges for the ASTW Awards of Excellence 2018
This year we were lucky to have a big pool of judges, none of whom are ASTW members. Many live overseas and are members of our sister writing associations in the USA, New Zealand or the UK; all have considerable experience. NB Some judges chose to remain anonymous.
We thank them all.
Mark Andrews has been a travel writer and photographer for the last seventeen years. Over this time he has explored much of Asia and on the way lived in Japan, South Korea and now currently Shanghai, China. He feels that one of the best ways to get under the skin of a place is through the local food. Having experienced plenty of unusual dishes such as raw horsemeat and silkworm larvae, writing about his adopted city’s cuisine in this issue seemed positively tame.
Catherine Beattie edits and publishes Spa Wellbeing – an online spa, travel and lifestyle magazine. She also blogs and reviews cruises, spas and hotels for travel websites and consumer magazines and writes tourism reports for Mintel. Catherine is a member of the British Guild of Travel Writers.
Ewen Bell is a Melbourne based photographer and journalist. He currently shoots for UK editions of National Geographic Traveller, Lonely Planet Traveller and Food & Travel. He is the former Editor at Large for Digital Photography magazine in Australia and regular contributor to Digital Photography magazine in the UK. His focus is always on sharing what makes the world beautiful, and the inspiration to step outside your boundaries and experience it for yourself. “Travel is the most valuable gift you can give yourself.” photographyfortravellers.com
Sue Bryant (@sjbryant) is an award-winning writer and editor specialising in travel. She is cruise editor of the Sunday Times, writes for Cruise Passenger and World of Cruising. Her work has also appeared in High Life, Food & Travel and TRVL magazine for iPad, among many others.
Wearing a different hat, Sue is editor of Journeys magazine (@JourneysMagUK), the UK’s first glossy mag dedicated to experiential travel. She also edits Uno Stile di Vita, the guestroom magazine for Baglioni Hotels.
Sue has also written or edited more than 25 travel books, from guidebooks about the Costa del Sol, Barcelona, Ibiza, Cyprus and Tel Aviv to Insight Guides’ Great River Cruises (Europe and the Nile). She has edited coffee table books, writes all the destination content for CountryNavigator.com and has produced cross-cultural training guides to more than 70 countries for executives going to live and work abroad.
She lives in west London with her two teenagers, two dogs and some chickens.
Paul Chai has been a travel writer for the past 15 years; he helped launch Travel + Leisure at Fairfax before going on to write for Traveller. He is the editor of Tigerair’s inflight magazine, Tiger Tales, which sees him dragging his two kids along on assignment as often as possible. Chai’s work also regularly appears in inflight mags like SilverKris, Mabuhay (Phillippine Airlines) and Smile (Cebu Pacific Airlines) that are all part of the Ink Singapore stable. @chai_paul
Brian Crisp has been a journalist for more than 30 years. During that time he has worked for Fairfax, News Corp and the Daily Liberal in Dubbo. Brian launched the national version of Escape in print in 2009. He now works as the Head of News Corp Studios – Queensland, where sadly he doesn’t get to travel much anymore.
Sue Dobson is an award-winning travel writer and magazine editor based in the UK, whose life-long passion for discovery and experiencing different cultures has taken her to every continent and into countries less travelled.
Hilary Doling is Editor in Chief of one of the world’s largest independent luxury travel websites, The Luxury Travel Bible (operating out of the UK and Australia) and Executive Editor of the glossy Five Star Kids magazine (Signature Media), devoted to luxury family travel. She started her career on London’s Fleet Street where she worked for newspapers such as The Times and The Guardian and for England’s glossy magazines. In search of sun she moved to Australia as Travel Editor at Fairfax newspapers (The Sun Herald) a position she held for twelve years and then became Editor in Chief of Luxury Travel Magazine. She is an international speaker on luxury hotels and travel, appearing at such events as ILTM Cannes and has visited every continent and set foot in more than 92 countries.
Paul has been a travel and nature photographer for nearly 16 years, was contracted to Lonely Planet Images (now Getty) for more than ten of those years and has been published in most of the big magazines that we love so much. He even won the ASTW Photographer of the Year back in the day when connecting to the Internet involved R2-D2-like sounds coming out of the modem. These days, as he balances the needs of a young family with being away with work, his business is moving more and more towards helping large organisations get a handle on their out-of-control image libraries, creating custom photographic and video databases so that they can more easily access and utilise these mostly untouched photographs. He is still represented by three major photo agencies and continues to do photographic work when it comes across his desk in Cairns.
Sam Earp is an Aussie photographer, videographer and content creator from Newcastle, Australia. His passion and love for photography saw him launch his travel journey on Instagram in 2015 and since then he has travelled to 40+ countries.
With a growing audience of over 120,000+ followers and an unique eye for detail, Sam has created content for some of the biggest global brands including Nike, Samsung, Go Pro, Ford, Logitech and a bunch of international and local tourism bodies.
He shoots with everything from a drone to his mobile phone and his 360 VR video of Maldives has clocked up over 1.8million YouTube views. Sam loves the beach, action sports and sharing epic moments of adventure and travels with people from all over the world. @samearp
During her impressive career as a journalist, Toni spent 10 years editing cruise publications, including Cruise Passenger magazine, and writing cruise stories aimed at passengers and travel industry professionals. Her articles have been published in The Australian, the Australian Financial Review, Cruise Passenger magazine, on Cruise Critic and in various trade publications. She also wrote three substantial cruise guidebooks for a leading travel chain.
Kerri Elstub is a broadcast journalist with more than 20 years of industry experience.
She has worked at Radio 2UE and Channel 9, where she was Supervising Producer on A Current Affair. Kerri is now Editor of 9Honey.
Paul is a Director/photographer with Peter Lik Publishing, a 20-year-old company that is well known and regarded for its production of premium publications and souvenirs using high quality photographic imagery. Paul previously worked for 14 years at Tourism Queensland as the Director – Creative Marketing Services, assuming responsibility for the quality and direction of the vast majority of imaging content in both stills and video format. Paul’s work can be found at Paulewart.photoshelter.com and on Instagram.com/paulewart1
Yelena is the editor and founder of Husskie, a site for influencer-focused fashion, beauty and lifestyle news and interviews.
Michelle Grima is an established media communications consultant based in the Blue Mountains. Having started her career at the Daily Telegraph in the late ‘80s, Michelle went on to manage national media for Tourism Tasmania, and now runs her own travel and lifestyle media business, Australia PR.
Nick Henderson is head of social media at Tourism Australia, the Australian Government agency responsible for attracting international visitors to Australia. Tourism Australia’s social media accounts are followed by more than 14 million people with the team creating up to ten pieces of content across Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, WeChat, and Weibo each day. Nick started working in social media in 2009 in the United Kingdom and more recently was head of social media at Virgin Australia prior to joining Tourism Australia.
Stuart Innes was Travel Writer-Editor of The Advertiser newspaper in South Australia in the 80s and 90s and, until retiring in 2012, it’s Tourism Writer. He was one of the longest-serving ASTW committee members, including four terms as president during which he introduced the annual travel writing awards. He is a former judge of the South Australian Tourism Awards.
Justin Jamieson is the founder and publisher of the award winning get lost Magazine, a 124 + page glossy travel magazine focusing on unique, boutique experiential travel. Justin can be heard discussing travel trends weekly on 2GB’s top rating Chris Smith Afternoon show and is a regular guest and co-host on 3AW’s number 1 travel and food program A Moveable Feast. He can also be heard on the Austereo networks, Talking Lifestyle and ABC nationally as well as guest spots on major TV networks and a regular guest on Sky News Travel. Justin launched get lost in 2004 hoping to scratch an insatiable travel bug. It seems to have made it worse.
Wendy Kay is an award-winning journalist, editor, columnist and executive producer with four decades of experience in newspapers, magazines, radio and television. Launching her career as a newspaper cadet, she has won awards in Australia, Hong Kong and the UK for her investigative features, while her desire to broaden her journalistic skills led her to produce top-rating current affairs television and programs for Sydney’s major radio stations 2GB and 2UE. In between, a love for travel was ignited by Club Med and working around the world as a sports instructor and entertainer. She now freelances for newspapers and magazines and has relaunched her column Wendy’s World at wendysworld.com.au
Alan has been a journalist for the past 40 years. He began his career with a cadetship on The Daily Telegraph in Sydney, and has worked throughout Australia and in London. After working on the development of Australian Business magazine in the early 1980s, he pursued a successful career as a freelance journalist, concentrating on the car industry. As motoring editor of both Australian Business and The Bulletin, he wrote extensively on industry policy. He spent 19 years at The Sydney Morning Herald – firstly, as motoring editor. He edited the Stay In Touch column for three years, before becoming deputy editor and then editor of the sports section. He returned to reporting for his last few years with the Herald, covering the America’s Cup and Olympic sailing, the AFL, Formula One and tennis. Alan has been a member of the Australian Journalists’ Association (AJA), now part of the Media Entertainment and Arts Alliance (MEAA), for 40 years and has been active in the union for most of that time. He chaired the Australian Consolidated Press House Committee, then, after joining the Herald, became chair of the Fairfax House Committee. He was president of the journalists’ section of the MEAA for eight years. He was on the Walkley Awards judging panel for nearly 10 years. He was a member of the Australian Press Council from 2005 until 2016. He left The Sydney Morning Herald at the end of 2005 and now works as a freelance journalist.
Matt Kirouac is a Chicago-based food and travel writer, editor and author. A culinary school graduate with a management degree in hospitality, he’s been writing professionally for 10 years, for companies like Plate Magazine, Daily Candy, Saveur, Kimpton Hotels, TripExpert, Flight Network, Time Out, Food Fanatics magazine, Brand USA and numerous others. Currently, he works for Zagat, Money Inc. and other freelance positions. His first travel book, The Hunt Guides: Chicago, came out in 2016, and his next book, Unique Eats & Eateries of Chicago, hits shelves in 2017. Check out his work at www.mattkrc.com.
Shirley LaPlanche joined the ASTW mid 1980s while editor of the Hospitality Section for The Australian. In 1990 she went freelance writing on a regular basis for the Australian Tourist Commission and travelling extensively on stories for magazines and newspapers in Australia and overseas. Her deep interest in eco-tourism led her to write her book Stepping Lightly on Australia which was published in 1995 by HarperCollins and sold worldwide. She says she is now semi-retired but is still travelling as often as time and money allow and still writing the occasional piece for her favourite magazines and newspapers.
Jonas Larsson has been the Swedish Creative Director for Scandinavian magazines for 20 years, and is currently working on his own travel magazine, American Trails, which made its debut in November 2017.
With over 20 years’ experience as both a food publisher and author at Murdoch Books, Jane Lawson has been responsible for the the acquisition and publication of many of Australia’s finest and most successful cookbooks such as Quay by Peter Gilmore, Origin by Ben Shewry, Songs of Sapa by Luke Nguyen, Real Food Companion by Mathew Evans, Movida Cocina and Movida Rustica by Frank Camorra and Richard Cornish, Zumbo by Adriano Zumbo and Bourke Street Bakery by Paul Allum and David McGuinness. An ex chef, Jane has authored around 10 popular titles such as Snowflakes and Schnapps, Grub – Favourite Food Memories, Cocina Nueva, Yoshoku, Zenbu Zen – finding food, culture and balance in Kyoto, Milkbar Memories -the cookbook of your childhood dreams and most recently the Tokyo Style Guide. When not food and travel writing Jane hosts regular luxury cuisine and culture tours of her second home Japan through her business Zenbutours.com and also runs an online Japanese homewares store (zenbuhome.com). Jane regularly presents, speaks and advises on all things Japanese food and travel.
Kerrie Lee has been working in mainstream print media since 1967, as a writer, editor and sub-editor.
She has held senior staff positions, including as a sections editor at The Sydney Morning Herald and special projects editor for The Australian Women’s Weekly, but embraced the more flexible, if precarious, freelance life while raising her three children.
For 25 years, Kerrie wrote and edited travel for a variety of publications, but gave up the heady delights of the famil to do an honours degree in prehistoric archaeology.
Her passion for travel has never abated and, thanks to the phenomenon of house swapping, she’s able to spend prolonged periods overseas every year, documenting her adventures in a privately distributed blog.
Kerrie also taught subbing for many years via the MEAA and Sydney Community College, as well as in-house for major publishing companies, such as ACP (now Bauer) and Pacific.
Jim Mathers is the Head of Publishing, at RACQ, in Queensland. He currently manages the membership organisation’s Road Ahead magazine in print and digital forms (total circulation in excess of one million), including a magazine app and mobile-optimised edition. RACQ Publishing also runs the RACQ Living website and enews series, with 12 enewsletters circulating to a total of 500,000 recipients each month. Jim was a former member of the ASTW and has been involved in the communication industry for 35 years.
Ewan McDonald has been Editor-in-Chief, Managing Editor and Features Editor with NZME, publishers of the NZ Herald and other print and online platforms. He is president of Travcom, the NZ Association of Travel Writers, Photographers and Communicators, and is a multi-award winning travel writer.
Denise McNabb has specialised in aviation, travel and business writing and editing on both sides of the Tasman for more years than she cares to remember. She came to Sydney in 2009 as the first Australia correspondent for the Fairfax New Zealand group of newspapers and was editor of Aviation Business magazine in Sydney before she returned to New Zealand last year where she is a freelance writer. Denise was the first New Zealand journalist to win the Airservices Australia Aviation Journalist of the Year in 2008. In 2007 she won the inaugural NZ Brook Asset Management Business Journalist of the Year award. She was inaugural secretary of New Zealand Travel Communicators when it was formed in 1992 after returning from her first stint in Australia where she was a member of the Australian Society of Travel Writers when travel editor of the Sunday Mail and the now defunct News in Adelaide. She co-founded the New Zealand Herald travel section and created for its publishers the tourism magazine arrival for inbound travellers at Auckland Airport. She has written for Vacations & Travel Magazine, the aviation and the business travel section for The Independent Business Weekly, The Press and The Dominion Post in New Zealand, and News Local, Platinum magazine, the US-based Global Business Travel magazine, and travel trade publications.
Neil McQuillian (Twitter: @neilmcquillian) is a British travel writer and editor. His writing appears in print and online, including in The Telegraph, The Sunday Times Travel Magazine and on roughguides.com. Formerly senior web editor and podcast host at Rough Guides, he recently moved to The Culture Trip, where he manages the Asia Pacific commissioning editors.
Sarah Monaghan is an award-winning British travel writer and specialist copywriter for travel and tourism. Her work has appeared in the travel pages of scores of national newspapers and magazines and she’s also worked in a PR capacity for many travel clients. She’s won the British Guild of Travel Writers’ Trade and Tourism Award, conceived and launched the annual BGTW Young Travel Writer Competition and has written several travel guidebooks. As mum to twin girls, age 6, she also has a h3 interest and insight into family travel. Find her at Connected Copy.
Janyne has 15 years’ experience working as a journalist including her time as an on the road reporter and newsreader at Sydney Radio 2UE and Executive Producer of the Ray Hadley Morning show on Radio 2GB before moving into Public Relations. Janyne co-founded In The Media PR generating widespread media coverage for clients like Cancer Institute NSW, Nike Damn Am event, UbiCar, Garvan Institute and MooGoo. www.inthemediapr.com.au
Kim is Public Affairs Manager for Tourism Australia.
Neil Murray, a former Travel Editor of the London Daily Mirror, writes frequently for the Scottish Sunday Mail newspaper and Essentially America magazine as well as, occasionally, for Group Leisure and Selling Travel magazines. In 2008, he was the first winner of the prestigious Travel Industry Association Discover America Travel Writer Award for the Best US Travel Destination article, The March of the Murals, in Essentially America. In 2017, he won the Visit USA Travel Writer of the Year award. He has also edited several travel guides – including the Great Lakes and California – for Phoenix International Publishing. Neil is a member of the British Guild of Travel Writers.
Kayte Nunn is a former book and magazine editor, and the author of three novels, the latest of which, The Botanist’s Daughter, will be published in Australia in August 2018, and later in Germany, Spain and Italy. She lives in the NSW Northern Rivers.
After19 years living and working in Asia, Kate returned to Ireland in 2013. She has enjoyed many years in the health, beauty and spa industries in London, Dublin, Singapore and Hong Kong and has become an established writer on lifestyle and spa culture. She is a founding judge of the prestigious annual Asia Spa awards. Kate is a qualified nutritionist and holds a diploma in cosmetic science from the Society of Chemical Scientists (UK). Kate writes for Asia Spa magazine, the Gloss and Image magazine (both in Ireland). She is the author of seven books, with her latest Your Middle Years: Love them. Live them. Own them being an Irish bestseller.
Alan Orbell’s travel writing career began on the now defunct Travel Agency Magazine published by Canadian company Maclean-Hunter. He was appointed editor of St James Press’s Travel Bulletin in 1977 and in the 1980s purchased the magazine from the company when it was taken over by Reed International. After a brief period as a freelance he was appointed launch editor of new magazine Selling Long Haul – later Selling Travel – in 1989 and subsequently became publisher and then part-owner of the publishing company, BMI Publishing. After selling the company in 1995 Alan remained with BMI Publishing as publisher/managing editor until April 2015 after which he continued to write on a freelance basis.
April Orcutt writes a weekly travel column for the Los Angeles Times and has written for National Geographic Traveler, BBC Travel, Vacations & Travel, Hemispheres (United Airlines’ inflight), TravelandLeisure.com, Travel.AARP.org, National Geographic Traveller India, San Francisco Chronicle, Dallas Morning News, AAA (American Automobile Association) magazines, Alaska Air (Alaska Airlines’ inflight), and more. April has won top honours in the Lowell Thomas Travel Journalism Competition (Gold), Visit California’s Eureka! Awards, and U.S. Travel Association’s IPW Awards.
As a journalist and photographer, Flash’s work has been published by Vacations + Travel, Afar Magazine, Outside Magazine, Lonely Planet, Conde Nast Traveler, USA Today, GQ Magazine, Reader’s Digest, American Cowboy, and a number of other national and international media outlets. He has worked on assignment in more than 70 countries across six continents, and specialises in narrative-driven, experiential travel. He was the 2016 Society of American Travel Writers Photographer of the Year, and the 2017 Action and Portrait Photographer of the year. www.flashparker.com
Grant Roff is an academic and editor with over 40 years’ experience in a variety of communication industries. He has a BA (English and History) from Melbourne University and an MA (Communications) from Monash University.
He taught communication studies at RMIT University for 14 years and his editing credentials include eight years as editor of Royalauto and 20 years as a contributor and full-time editor of magazines for publishing groups including ACP and Bauer Media.
He ran creative writing workshops for Lonely Planet authors and has taught writing at university level in Australia, India, Vietnam and Singapore.
Jock Serong has worked as a criminal lawyer and was the founding editor of Great Ocean Quarterly. He has published three novels and writes extensively for the surfing media and in The Guardian and elsewhere. His current novel is On the Java Ridge.
Megan Singleton, Blogger at Large
Megan Singleton (@bloggeratlarge) is an Auckland based award-winning travel writer and blogger. She founded one of New Zealand’s largest travel and lifestyle blogs, Blogger at Large in 2009 after beginning her blogging career in 2006 for a nationwide travel agency where she cut her teeth blogging twice a day, five days a week for three years.
Megan’s travel writing career started in 2000 and her work is published around the world on websites, magazines and newspapers. She is also a weekly travel correspondent on two radio stations in New Zealand.
Following a BA Hons degree in Politics from Newcastle University and a Post Graduate Diploma in Journalism from De Montford University, Amanda has enjoyed a successful career. Amanda is Travel Editor of Cosmopolitan and www.cosmopolitan.co.uk and was travel editor of You and Your Wedding magazine for eight years. She writes for national newspapers, magazines and guidebooks and has also presented films and university lectures on travel writing.
Kalpana Sunder is a freelance travel writer and photographer based in Chennai, India where she lives with her entrepreneur-husband, and two children. She believes that life is too short to do just one thing and she has re-invented herself several times – she is a qualified company secretary and a Japanese language specialist. She has taught Japanese to adult learners and children, handled interpretation assignments for corporates and organised creative writing workshops for young learners. Her life changing trip was in 2001 when she travelled through Japan on a Japan Foundation Scholarship. She has snorkelled on the Barrier Reef; zip lined through rainforests, snowmobiled in Lapland, and floated on the Dead Sea, in her search for a good travel tale. Kalpana writes for magazines and newspaper all over the world.
Eric Stoen is a writer and photographer specializing in family travel, based in California. His goal is to encourage everyone to take their kids to unique destinations, and he provides first-hand information through travelbabbo.com to make it easier to plan those trips. He’s travelled with his kids (ages 8, 10 and 12) to 49 countries on seven continents. He’s won Conde Nast Traveler’s Photo of the Year award and is a NATJA gold award winner for travel writing, and in 2017 Forbes named him the World’s #4 Travel Influencer. He’s an ambassador for Travelocity, AFAR Magazine and Universal Orlando.
Ben Stubbs is a lecturer at the University of South Australia. He has a PhD in travel writing.
Ben has written numerous feature articles, essays and guidebooks for publications in Australia and overseas.
His first book explored the ‘New Australia’ socialist utopian colony in the Paraguayan jungle. Ticket to Paradise: A Journey to Discover the Australian Colony in Paraguay Among Nazis, Mennonites and Japanese Beekeepers was published by HarperCollins in 2012.
His next book, After Dark: A Nocturnal Exploration of Madrid (2016) begins from the premise of Jean-Jacques Rousseau, who once wrote that we are blind half our lives because of what we miss during the night. Ben was drawn to explore the Spanish capital at night like the flâneurs of the past. He set out when the sun went down to explore this often-maligned city and to experience Madrid as a trasnochador—one who lives After Dark.
Richard Tulloch began to travel extensively through his work as a writer of plays, books and television for young people, most famously writing The original Bananas in Pyjamas and recent plays adapted from The 13-Storey Treehouse series. He now divides his time between bases in Sydney and Amsterdam. Since 2009 he has been a regular contributor to Fairfax Media, particularly specialising in active travel stories.
Mark Watson is recognised as one of Australia’s foremost commercial and adventure photographers, with a career spanning more than 10 years creating dynamic imagery in some of the furthest flung places on the planet, for both natural history and extreme sport clients.
Watson is a Nikon & Lowepro ambassador and is sponsored by Goal Zero & Black Rapid. He is a member of the Australian Institute of Professional Photographers (AIPP), is a key accredited photographer for Red Bull Content Pool and leading photographer at Nitro Circus Live.
Watson in the brainchild of inciteimages.com, developed from ambitions to offer clients a collection of professionals to fulfil demand for superior photography services and coverage of their projects. Since inception, inciteimages.com has been commissioned for a plethora of assignments ranging in size, scope and budget, from international tourism campaigns to coordinating still photography coverage of large-scale events.
For the past 12 odd years Kathryn Webster has been the editor of AA Directions, the New Zealand magazine for AA Members, which has a significant proportion of travel in its editorial mix. She was President of TravCom New Zealand for three years and is still on its committee.
Annabelle White is a New Zealand Food and travel media personality who has and does appear on Tv/ nationwide radio, magazines and newspapers. Her web site is www.annabellewhite.com.
The author of 11 cookbooks and former food editor for NZ House & Garden and NZ Womens’ Weekly and the food columnist for the Sunday Star-Times for over 23 years – this former history teacher followed her love of communicating food and travel into a busy full time job. She has an MA Hons first class in history and geography and a few years ago was awarded a distinguished alumni award from the University of Waikato.
Ruth Zukerman is a leading tourism and hospitality professional with a successful career spanning more than twenty five years in Australia, USA and Asia.
Well respected in the areas of public relations, marketing, business development, communications and crisis management Ruth has worked with a range of high-end global brands including Four Seasons*Regent Hotels, Conrad and Intercontinental Hotels and Hyatt Corporation in the USA.
With a passion for hospitality her vast experience has included Regent International Hotels based in Australia responsible for global sales, marketing and public relations. She spent 10 years with the Conrad Bali, opening the resort as Director of Sales & Marketing and six years in the role of Director of Public Relations during the time when incidents such as terrorism greatly affected business to Bali. Ruth was part of a small team responsible for restoring tourism from Australia by means of PR campaigns and crisis management to expand develop and promote tourism to Bali.