Eric Newby was born in London in 1919 and educated at St Paul’s
School. In 1938 he joined the four-masted Finnish barque Moshulu as
an apprentice and sailed in the last Grain Race from Australia to
Europe by way of Cape Horn. During World War II he served in the
Special Boat Service, and was awarded the Military Cross in 1945.
He was a prisoner of war in Italy from 1942-5, and it was during
this time that he met Wanda, his beloved wife and travelling
companion of many years.
Following the war he spent ten years as a commercial traveller in the rag trade and in a London couture house and then resumed his independent travelling career when he decided to take a short walk in the Hindu Kush. For many years he was travel editor of the Observer.
He was the author of a number of bestselling travel books, including Slowly Down the Ganges, A Small Place in Italy, Departures and Arrivals, and two books of photographs: What the Traveller Saw and Around the World in Eighty Years. He was made CBE in 1994. Eric Newby died in October 2006.
'The master storyteller. He transformed travel writing' Independent 'One of the most enjoyable reads of the last century' Herald Tribune 'The most successful travel writer of his generation. It's impossible to read this book without laughing aloud' Observer 'Endlessly entertaining and self-deprecating' Daily Mail 'Full of serendipity and surprise' The Economist 'A total success' New Yorker 'Notable addition to the literature of unorthodox travel … tough, extrovert, humorous and immensely literate' Times Literary Supplement '”A Short Walk in the Hindu Kush” established him as a traveler who not only journeyed fruitfully but had the ability to bring his readers with him' William Trevor, Guardian 'I still think the last few sentences of “A Short Walk in the Hindu Kush” the funniest ending to any book I have read' Geoffrey Moorhouse, The Times 'The book that made [Newby's] reputation … typically ironic in its understatement' Observer 'Newby is easily the best of the bunch' Sunday Times 'All the lyricism, and spirit of adventure and discovery [in] Newby's work' The Times 'As good as its hype' Wanderlust