In 2014, after the death of Michael Jacobs, the Gabo Foundation and the Hay Festival Cartagena de Indias, as part of an alliance of more than a decade, took the initiative to organize, as a tribute to the English writer, the Michael Jacobs Chronicle Grant traveler. The scholarship is funded by the Michael Jacobs Foundation for Travel Writing, a non-profit organization created by Michael’s widow and brother to honor his legacy, and promote travel writing in Spain and Latin America.
- Journalists or writers of any nationality may apply, as long as their work addresses travel journalism in Latin America or Spain in Spanish or English.
- An autobiography of up to 800 words (in Spanish or English) describing your experience as a travel journalist and your motivation for applying for the scholarship. Resumes or conventional curricula will not be taken into account.
- A detailed presentation of the project (article or book) including: project description, work schedule, and planned travel itinerary. The article or book must be written in Spanish or English. The project does not necessarily have to be finished, since the grant seeks to strengthen an ongoing project, but they must send at least a fragment of the work, since the jury must evaluate the author’s narrative capacity.
- A text published by the author in a printed or digital medium. The candidate must have at least one article or book published at the time of submitting the application.
“Travel literature can enrich our understanding of the world in a unique way. By having the potential to encompass so many different forms of writing, from autobiography to fiction, from journalism to history, it allows authors to explore ideas and disciplines with a freedom that would not be possible in a more academic context. ”
This is how Michael Jacobs defined what was his great passion and to which he dedicated a large part of his life: the travel chronicle. Jacobs was born in Italy in 1952, lived his youth in England and then traveled to different parts of the world and dedicated himself to research and write about Spain and Latin America, until he was considered a notable Hispanicist and passionate about Spanish culture.
Although he studied Art History at the Courtauld Institute, he decided to abandon his career to dedicate himself to writing. After writing several books on art, he published Andalucía , the first of the many books that he would dedicate to that region of Spain and the one that he later chose to establish his residence, specifically in a small town in the province of Jaén called Frailes. In The Light Factory , Jacobs recounts his first five years in this town of less than 2,000 inhabitants.
In 2003 he published Ghost Train Through the Andes , the story of his trip through Chile and Bolivia, recreating the love story of his grandparents, in the middle of a railroad trip through the Andes, the Antofagasta region and Potosí.
But Michael Jacobs’ charm for the Hispanic world was so great that the small town of Frailes became his Macondo, and perhaps that is why the day he met Gabo at a Hay Festival in Cartagena marked his life so much. who shared with him his memories about the Magdalena River, with which Jacobs was obsessed. That meeting with García Márquez motivated the Englishman to make a journey through the most important river artery in Colombia the following year, a journey that he recounted in El thief of memories , his latest book, where in addition to talking about the journey he makes a nostalgic remembrance of his relationship with his parents and his childhood.
Today Jacobs is a world reference when it comes to talking about travel journalism and his work is embedded in the canons of the traveling chronicle. Michael Jacobs passed away in London on January 11, 2014, leaving a unique and evocative legacy.
The scholarship, which reaches its eighth edition with the purpose of encouraging travel chronicles, will award $ 7,500 for a book project or travel article on Latin America or Spain, to be published in Spanish or English.
To choose the winner, the juries will take into account the narrative quality and the journalistic depth of the projects. For Michael Jacobs, travel journalism went beyond the simple anecdotal experience and for this reason works capable of awakening the five senses and that open the mind to any reader are sought.
The official announcement of the winner will be made at the Hay Festival Cartagena, which will take place from January 22 to 30, 2022, with virtual and face-to-face events.
»What the winner receives
The sum of 7,500 dollars as an incentive to finance the research and writing of your article or book. The amount includes the taxes to be paid by the beneficiary and the convening institutions. The scholarship will be awarded as follows: one-third ($ 2,500) when the winner is announced and two-thirds ($ 5,000) when the project is completed and delivered to the publisher for publication.
The winner will be invited to participate as a jury in the next edition of the Michael Jacobs Scholarship for traveling chronicle.
If the winner wishes, they will receive a courtesy from the Manolo el Sereno Association (MAELSE) in collaboration with the Inquietarte Foundation, both located in Frailes, with accommodation and stay in the town for a month, although it should be noted that the flights, food and personal expenses are not included. *
* Note: This benefit depends on the prevention measures imposed by the health authorities of each country against the pandemic derived from the coronavirus.