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Last Updated: Sunday, 22 October 2006, 14:18 GMT 15:18 UK
Travel writer Newby dies aged 86
Eric Newby
Eric Newby in 1997, on an edition of the BBC's One Foot In The Past
Travel writer Eric Newby, whose works included A Short Walk In The Hindu Kush, has died at the age of 86.

Newby began travelling after World War II with a climbing expedition in Afghanistan, which formed the basis of his best-known book.

He was awarded a CBE in 1994 and was given a lifetime achievement award by the British Guild of Writers in 2001.

A compilation of Newby's travel writing was published in 1995, a year after he was profiled on The South Bank Show.

Newby also appeared on the BBC's Travel Show, which included a report from Istanbul, one of his favourite cities.

'Marvellous storyteller'

He was frequently accompanied on trips by his wife Wanda, who he met in Italy during World War II following his escape from a prisoner of war camp.

From 1964-73, he was travel editor of the Observer newspaper and edited the Time Off series.

Among Newby's other well-known books was The Big Red Train Ride about his experiences on the Trans-Siberian Express and Round Ireland In Low Gear (1987).

He was hailed as a "marvellous storyteller" by Washington Post book critic Noel Perrin.

The Times' Geoffrey Moorhouse said: "The thing that sets Eric Newby apart from other literate travellers is gusto. Where others flutter on impressionistic wings... he barges into everything with relish and mockery in the opposite of the grand manner".

In a statement, his family said: "Eric was a man with enormous energy, warmth and curiosity. His writing was entertaining, but he took it very seriously.

"He loved the simplicity of walking and cycling and was attached to his cameras, manual typewriters and a series of lawn mowers. He was great fun to be with."

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