Travel Writing Scholarship 2013 – Beijing, China


Entries close April 19th, 2013 at 2pm AEST (UTC +10).
Keen to turn your passion for writing into a profession?

This year we want to send you to Beijing, China!

Crisscrossed by freeways, spiked with high-rises, this vivid metropolis is China at its most dynamic. For a thousand years, the drama of China’s imperial history was played out in Beijing, with the emperor sitting enthroned at the centre of the Chinese universe, and though today the city is a very different one, it remains spiritually and politically the heart of the country.

In this Travel Writing Scholarship, your assignment will be to get under the skin of this city of 22 million, discover the stories of the culture and its people, and write about it all, under the mentorship of two seasoned travel writers.

Here’s the deal:

First you’ll head off to Beijing to go on assignment for five days under the mentorship of Rough Guides writer Martin Zatko to review and update the Beijing chapters of ‘The Rough Guide to China’.

Then join international travel journalist and Beijing local, Kit Gillet, for an adventure into his backyard to explore some of the hidden, and not so hidden (camping on the Great Wall anyone?) charms of the city.

All of this writing is sure to work up a pretty serious appetite, so for the last leg of the scholarship, you will spend three days with Hias Gourmet getting well acquainted with the history, art and technique that accompanies the Chinese love of their cuisine.
Important Dates

**You need to be available between June 24th – July 6th, 2013 to participate on the assignment.**

April 19 Submission deadline

May 10 Winner confirmed and announced

June 24 Arrive in Beijing

June 25-29 Writing Assignment with Martin Zatko

June 30-July 2 Mentorship & Beijing adventure with Kit Gillet

July 3-5 Chinese Food extravaganza

July 6 Depart

August 9 Copy deadline
On assignment with Rough Guides


Your Rough Guides brief

* We’ll fly you to Beijing from your country of residence.

* After spending two days learning the ropes with mentor Martin Zatko, you will have a chance to explore this bustling, progressive city for two days on your own. In this time, you will research, review and update essential travel information for ‘The Rough Guide to China’, including accommodations, duck restaurants, theatres, teahouses and – best of all – the Forbidden City itself! On your final day, you will meet back up with Martin to go over your work together.

* Your mentor will be at hand to offer guidance, but essentially this is your assignment; you will travel on your own for this part of the journey so you must be comfortable travelling solo. Martin will assign you a specific area based on your travel experience.

* Your work will feature in the new edition of ‘The Rough Guide to China’, placing your foot firmly in the door of the elusive travel writing industry!

Read an interview with Martin Zatko about life as a travel writer.
Through local eyes

For your second mentorship experience in Beijing, you will spend three days with Kit Gillet, learning what life is like as a freelance journalist and discovering Beijing through his local perspective.

First, you’ll spend a night camping near (or actually on!) the Great Wall of China, to experience this wonder of the world firsthand – and without the crowds.

You will also spend time among the hutong alleyways that formed the ancient heart of the Chinese capital. Wander around the courtyards that still dominate the northern part of central Beijing, talking to locals and seeing the modern developments – restaurants, bars, micro breweries – that are turning some of the areas into chic city destinations for foreign tourists.

Finally, you will visit the artist commune of Songzhuang and galleries of Caochangdi to see the burgeoning Chinese art scene to find out how Chinese artists work and what inspires them.
Food & Culture


Nowhere else on the Chinese mainland can compete with the culinary wealth of Beijing: every style of Chinese food is available, plus just about any Asian and most world cuisines. Among all this abundance it’s sometimes easy to forget that Beijing has its own culinary traditions; Beijing duck (Beijing kaoya) and Mongolian hotpot are definitely worth trying!

For the final leg of your trip, our friends at Hias Gourmet want to give you a window into this rich food culture by offering up three culinary experiences of your choice. Go on a tea tasting safari, a night market excursion, a breakfast tour of the Sihuan market or noodle and dumpling making classes.

You’ll also have some free time during this leg of the trip to explore Beijing and dig up some independent stories.
What you’ll need to produce

Along with your work on ‘The Rough Guide to China’, you will be required to keep a daily travel journal on (no less than 200 words per daily entry), as well as produce three pieces to be published on World Nomads sharing your adventures in Beijing.
Who can apply
* This opportunity is open to students, emerging and non-professional writers and lovers of travel looking for a career change.

* The scholarship is open to all nationalities, however, you must have an exceptionally high degree of proficiency in written English.

* The opportunity is designed to give you a taste of what it’s like to be a travel writer on the road, so you must be comfortable doing some travel on your own.

* Minimum age 18 by the date the scholarship application closes (April 19, 2013)

* You need a current passport with at least six months left before expiry.

* You must be available as per the dates set out. Please note these dates are not changeable in any way, you must be available for the entire assignment.

* You should be an exceptional writer with a lust for adventure travel, a desire to experience new cultures and above all, a burning desire to become a professional travel writer!

What constitutes a professional travel writer?

Essentially this is a ‘learning opportunity’ for someone who is looking for an introduction into the travel writing industry and more importantly, is keen to be mentored.

As a guide, for the purposes of the opportunity, we would consider you to be professional writer if you have been published regularly in newspapers, travel magazines or travel journals. We would also consider you to be a professional writer if you derive more than 25% of your income from writing.

If you have had a few stories published, or keep a regular travel blog then we would not consider this professional.

We would also like to further clarify that a professional writer of any sort (travel writer or otherwise) is not eligible to apply if they derive more than 25% of their income from writing.

Please consider the spirit of the program which is intended to help those with a burning desire to be a professional travel writer and need some help getting started.
Apply now

If you want it, you’ve got to show it. To apply you need to:

1. Write. Craft a 2500 characters or less (this includes spaces) travel focused essay based on a personal experience around one of the following themes;

a. ‘Catching a Moment’

b. ‘Understanding a Culture through Food’

c. ‘A Local Encounter that Changed my Perspective’

d. ‘Sharing Stories – A Glimpse into Another’s Life’

It’s up to you to convince our judging panel through your writing that you have the spirit of adventure and passion for travel writing to be chosen for this scholarship. We will be looking for:

– great descriptive ability
– strong eye for detail
– ability to uncover and tell a compelling story
– excellent spelling and grammar and a knack for avoiding clichés

2. Complete an entry form which includes contact details and a maximum 1200 character essay on why you should be chosen and what the opportunity will mean for you. Your answer will provide considerable weight in the judging process.

3. One entry per person.

4. The entry must be submitted in English.

Applications close April 19, 2013 at 2pm (AEST)

All photos courtesy of Tim Draper (c) Rough Guides
CONDITIONS OF ENTRY – Please read before applying!

Click to read the terms and conditions of this scholarship

Apply Now

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