John Gimlette

John Gimlette was born in 1963. At seventeen, he crossed the Soviet Union by train and has since travelled to over 60 countries. In 1982, on the eve of the Falklands War, he was working on an estancia in Argentina. He returned to England via Paraguay and Bolivia to read law at Cambridge.

In 1997, he won the Shiva Naipaul Memorial Prize with ‘Pink Pigs in Paraguay’, which was published in The Spectator in May of that year. The following year he won the Wanderlust Travel Writing competition. In 2012, Wild Coast (John’s most recent book) won the Dolman Travel Book of the Year Award.

He is a regular contributor to a number of British broadsheets, including the Daily Telegraph, Times and the Guardian travel sections. He also contributes to other travel titles, including the Conde Nast Traveller and Wanderlust. His travel photographs have appeared in the Telegraph, Wanderlust and Geographical.

His first book was At the Tomb of the Inflatable Pig which is described as a ‘vivid, riotous journey into the heart of South America’. His second book, Theatre of Fish, set in Newfoundland and Labrador, was published in 2005. Both books were nominated by the New York Times as being among the ‘100 Notable Books of the Year’.

John Gimlette’s third book was Panther Soup, which followed a wartime journey through France, Germany and Austria, comparing the battlefields of 1944-45 with what can be found there today.

Wild Coast was published by Profile Books in 2011. It describes a journey through Guyana (formerly British Guiana), Suriname (formerly Dutch Guiana) and French Guiana (or Guyane Française). Along the way, John Gimlette visits Jonestown (scene of the mass murder/suicide of November 1978), and meets Amerindians, gold-washers, hoods, chancers, seers, ranchers, the descendants of runaway slaves (or maroons), and the survivors of a brutal civil war.

Elephant Complex: Travels in Sri Lanka, was published in October 2015 in the UK and February 2016 in the USA.

John lives in London where he practices as a barrister. He is married to TV presenter, Jayne Constantinis, and they have one daughter, Lucy. His latest book, The Garden of Mars: Madagascar, an Island Story was published on 7th January 2021 by Head of Zeus.

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