AWARD for Best Travel Book was first presented in 2001.

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Winner of the 2013 Best Travel Book is African Son by William J. Hemminger (Senegal 1973-75) published by University Press of America in 2012.

William J. Hemminger is chair of the English Department and teaches English and Frenchwilliam-hemminger2 at University of Evansville in southern Indiana. He is also a poet, translator, musician, composer, and gardener. After graduating from Columbia University, he served in Senegal as a Peace Corps volunteer. Hemminger earned a Ph.D. in 1988 and since then has worked in Madagascar and Cameroon under the auspices of the Fulbright Program.

Reviewers of this book write:

African Son is one of the best travelogues written about African. Its fifteen insightful, well-written, and well-organized essays tackle important social, cultural, and philosophical issues such as social inequities, cultural differences, man and nature, death, and spirituality. The book skillfully blends honesty and realism: the author’s feelings and attitudes towards the people and the land, as well as his scathing satire of human flaws. These exciting essays are ‘objective writing’ that depicts Africa-its merits and demerits-as well as the Westerners’ encounter with the continent. African Son is a great contribution to travel literature, African literature, and nature writing.

— Christine Djockoua Manyaka Toko
professor of American literature, University of Yaoundé

These vignettes of daily life in various African countries and the experiences of ex-patriots provide insights about human agency, which most textbooks fail to convey. This book would make a great supplementary text that would provoke thoughtful discussion so often missing in university classes.

— Richard Bradshaw

All Peace Corps Writers award winners receive a certificate from Peace Corps Writers and a cash award to supplement their Readjustment Allowance.

Congratulations, William

CLICK to see the list of previous winners of the Best Travel Book Award

To purchase African Son from Amazon.com, click on the book cover or the bold book title — and Peace Corps Worldwide, an Amazon Associate, will receive a small remittance that will help support our annual writers awards.