Eric Newby

Eric Newby
Born (1919-12-06)6 December 1919
Hammersmith, London
Died 20 October 2006(2006-10-20) (aged 86)
Guildford, Surrey
Occupation Author, travel writer
Nationality British
Period 1956 - 99
Genre History, travel, non-fiction,
Subject India, Middle East, Britain, Europe, Afghanistan
Spouse Wanda
Children 2 (a son and a daughter)

George Eric Newby CBE MC (6 December 1919 20 October 2006[1]) was an English travel author. Newby's best known works include A Short Walk in the Hindu Kush, The Last Grain Race, and Round Ireland in Low Gear.


Newby was born and grew up near Hammersmith Bridge, London, and was educated at St Paul's School.[2] After leaving school he worked for two years at the Dorland advertising agency until 1938 when he apprenticed aboard the Finnish windjammer Moshulu and took part in the "Grain Race" from Australia to Europe by way of Cape Horn. This voyage was subsequently described in The Last Grain Race and pictorially documented in Learning the Ropes.[3]

He served in the Black Watch and the Special Boat Section during World War Two, and was captured during an operation against the coast of Sicily in August 1942. He was later awarded the Military Cross for his part in the raid.[4] Newby was sent to a camp at Chieti a few miles inland from Pescara on the Adriatic coast, and later to Fontanellato, near Parma.[5] Escaping with the other British prisoners after the Italian Armistice, he was helped to hide in the Apennine countryside by a Slovenian woman, Wanda, who married him after the war and became a companion on his travels. These experiences were described in his memoir Love and War in the Apennines, which focuses on how he was helped by ordinary Italians. A film, In Love and War, was made in 2001 based on the book, starring Callum Blue as Newby and Barbora Bobuľová as Wanda. He was free until January 1944, when he was recaptured.[6]

After the war, he briefly worked in the women's fashion business (his father had owned a firm making ladies' mantles), before setting out to climb Mir Samir in the Nuristan Mountains of Afghanistan in 1956,[7] an expedition later chronicled in A Short Walk in the Hindu Kush — probably his most widely known work, and which included a meeting with the English explorer Wilfred Thesiger. From 1964 to 1973, Newby was Travel Editor for The Observer newspaper.[8] He was awarded a CBE in 1994 and the Lifetime Achievement Award of the British Guild of Travel Writers in 2001. His life and work was profiled in ITV's The South Bank Show (director Tony Knox) in 1994. He made travel films for the BBC, returning to Parma with his wife Wanda in The Travel Show (director Paul Coueslant, 1994) and visiting one of his favourite cities, Istanbul (1996). He died at age 86 in Guildford.[9][10]

Selected bibliography



External links

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