Friday, July 19, 2013

Winners of the First Annual I Must Be Off! Travel Essay Contest

First of all, thank you to everyone who entered your work in this competition. Your essays have taken me and my readers to far-flung and thought-provoking places--from Savar to Scotland, from Cairns to Cambodia, from Madeira to Matheran. They've challenged us to see the world from fresh angles, and I'm proud to have all of the top essays published here at I Must Be Off!

Many of the top pieces will receive Dorothee Lang and Smitha Murthy's unusual, epistolary travel book Worlds Apart. This is such a well-written and profound book about travel, China, India, Germany and life lessons in general. It is also about a very cool accidental friendship. I hope those of you who win this book enjoy it as much as I have.

Choosing the top twenty essays from the 87 sent in, many in the last few hours before the submissions deadline, was not so difficult; but I have lost a bit of sleep choosing the top two. One reason I decided to give two top prizes was because I knew there would be drastically different interpretations of the "travel" essay. And indeed, I Must Be Off! received so many different styles of writing--informative, humorous, reflective, academic, just plain fun, etc--that selecting only two is actually no fun at all. But it must be done.


The WINNERS of the First Annual  
I Must Be Off! 
Travel Essay Competition:
(in no particular order) 

by Hannah Thompson-Yates

God's Own Country
by Saahil Acharya

Highly Commended: 
(in no particular order)

by Romi Grossberg

A Month in the Life of Bangladesh
by Paola Fornari

by Foster Trecost

by Rishita Dey

Kurigram to Dhaka by Night
by Rilla Norslund

Again, thank you to all the writers who participated in the competition. If your work has found a home here at I Must Be Off! please know that it is loved.  

I must be off,


Christopher Allen is the author of Conversations with S. Teri O'Type (a Satire), an episodic adult cartoon about a man struggling with expectations. Allen's award-winning fiction and non-fiction have appeared or are forthcoming in SmokeLong Quarterly's Best of the First Ten Years anthology, Prime Number Magazine, The Best of Every Day Fiction, Pure Slush, Bootsnall Travel and Chicken Soup for the Soul. A finalist at Glimmer Train in 2011, Allen has been nominated for Best of the Net and the Pushcart Prize twice. He is the managing editor of the daily litzine Metazen. Recently, Allen--along with editors Michelle Elvy and Linda Simoni-Wastila--hosted Flash Mob 2013 in celebration of International Flash Fiction Day.