Looking for more from Sean McLachlan? He also hangs out on the Midlist Writer blog, where he talks about writing, adventure travel, caving, and everything else he gets up to. He also reproduces all the posts from Civil War Horror, so drop on by!

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

I'm a winner in the 2013 Lowell Thomas Travel Journalism Competition

I'm happy and humbled to announce that I'e won the 2013 Lowell Thomas Travel Journalism Competition, taking the gold in the Personal Comment category for my article Video Games with a Refugee, part of my Iraq travel series on the Gadling travel blog.

The annual competition is sponsored by the Society of American Travel Writers Foundation. Winners of the awards, the most prestigious in the field of travel journalism, were announced Oct. 21 at the SATW convention, held this year in Biloxi, on the Mississippi Gulf Coast. This is the 29th Lowell Thomas competition and drew 1,257 entries. Judges were members of the faculty at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill School of Journalism and Mass Communication.

In honoring my work, the judges said: "Is it possible that we can have our hearts broken while playing with a child? The author demonstrates that it is. In this extraordinarily touching piece, Sean McLachlan recounts a hotel lobby visit with a Syrian refugee, 9, who wants to play video games with him. In one short piece, he delivers the pathos of the Syrian conflict with the innocence and joy of a child. This crisply written piece is not weighed down by sermonizing. Its impact comes from the story, sharply told."

This made my week! Oh, and I big shout out to my friend David Farley, who won gold in the Short Article on Travel for his article “Mama Knows Best” in Afar magazine!


  1. Congratulations, Sean. What wonderful news, and well deserved. Ever since I've been reading your blog I've known your words are golden--now you have proof!

  2. Sean, that is awesome! Good on those UNC judges.

  3. Congratulations, Sean. I'm impressed, but I too, think your winning is well-deserved. I read most of your Iraq series, and found it captivating. I know it's very unlikely I'll ever get there. You helped me see an area with enormous history contained in its sands.

    Enjoy the acclaim!

  4. Wow congrats! That's such an honor.

  5. Went an read the article- you deserved to win with that- it is a fantastic little piece.




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