Tuareg militiamen encounter one of their nomadic kinsmen.
Tuareg militiamen encounter one of their nomadic kinsmen. Image by Brent Stirton for National Geographic. Mali, 2011.

Peter Gwin has won the Lowell Thomas Award for foreign travel writing for his piece: The Telltale Scribes of Timbuktu, which appeared in January 2011 issue of National Geographic Magazine. Steve Hendrix of The Washington Post took second place in the competition and Robert Draper of Virtuoso Life was third. Gwin traveled to Mali on a grant from the Pulitzer Center for his project Saharan Insecurity, documenting the changing social and political landscape of the Sahara region. The judges praised Peter's work:

"As if the subject was not remote and mysterious enough, the writing here is so filled with atmosphere and memorable people it might have been written by John le Carré. The name itself is a veritable synonym for a place so far removed it epitomizes the other side of the world. And the writer takes us there — with facts, history and unforgettable descriptions."

The Lowell Thomas Award is sponsored by the Society of American Travel Writers and awards more than $18,000 annually in prize money. Begun in 1985, the award recognizes outstanding print, online, broadcast and multimedia works, and also travel photography. You can view a full list of the award winners here.

Project

In the heart of the Sahara Desert and amidst of some of the world’s biggest uranium reserves, terrorists, smugglers and bandits threaten to seize control of northern parts of Mali and Niger.

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