Thursday, August 4, 2011

Travel Then and Now: Linda Watanabe McFerrin Interviews Georgia Hesse

Linda Watanabe McFerrin
by Linda Watanabe McFerrin

The absolutely amazing Book Passage Travel and Food Writing & Photography Conference begins next week, August 11-14,  in Corte Madera.

Writers from around the world will be converging for four days of workshops, panels, consultations, and outstanding presentations. I am thoroughly thrilled to be kicking off the conference with a presentation about The Life of a Travel Writer with one of my mentors from way back:  the Grande Dame of travel writing, Georgia Hesse.

I had lunch with Georgia at San Francisco’s Café de la Presse. We talked about travel, then and now, over a salade frisée, a tarte provençale, and a couple of glasses of vin rouge. This prompted a host of questions from me, which Georgia has politely deigned to answer.

First, a few words about Georgia and her illustrious career:

Georgia Hesse
Georgia I. Hesse claims to have been born on the 28 Ranch on Crazy Woman Creek at the foot of the Big Horn Mountains in Wyoming. She was graduated from Carleton College in Northfield, Minnesota, and studied political science and white wines as a Fulbright scholar at the University of Strasbourg in France. She is the founding travel editor of the San Francisco Examiner (the original Hearst-owned one, she hastens to say) and then of the joined (on Sundays) Examiner-Chronicle.

Georgia has taught travel writing for the 20 years of the Book Passage conference and has lectured at several writers’ gatherings and at the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute. For several years she had a weekly travel-music program at the once and much-missed S.F. radio station KABL. Her articles have appeared in 20 magazines and 38 newspapers and she is the author/co-author of 14 books, several of them guides to France and California.

Georgia holds the Ordre National du Mérite from the French government and the Chevalier l’Ordre de la République from Tunisia. She has visited all 50 U.S. states and at most recent tally has crossed the Atlantic 174 times and the Pacific 98 times, by airplane and ship. She believes in Paul Theroux’s dictum, “Every step out the door can be a story. Consider San Francisco’s #30 bus.”

Continue reading the interview on the Left Coast Writers Blog

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