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May 30 @ 6:30 pm - 8:00 pm

IN COCONUT GROVE: An Evening with Hilary Bradt and Thomas Swick


Books & Books


May 30
6:30 pm - 8:00 pm


Books & Books in Coconut Grove
3409 Main Hwy
Coconut Grove, FL 33133 United States
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Books & Books in Coconut Grove presents…


in conversation with

Thomas Swick


Taking the Risk

Thursday, May 30, 6:30 PM | Books & Books, Coconut Grove


Books & Books is proud to present an evening with Hilary Bradt presenting her new book, Taking the Risk. She will be in conversation with Thomas Swick.

This event is FREE and open to the public. Books will be available for purchase the night of the event! Please RSVP only if you intend to join us.

About the Book:

This is the unique story of one of the true pioneers of modern travel. An industry trailblazer who co-founded Bradt Guides, Hilary Bradt looks back on fifty years of escapades, surprises, mishaps, disasters, and triumphs. Her engaging memoir Taking the Risk weaves together insightful reflections, hilarious anecdotes, and sometimes heart-stopping moments from her serendipitous adventures in both travel and publishing.

Barely into her twenties, Hilary thumbed lifts around the Middle East for three months before spending four years working and travelling in the US. Between 1973 and 1976 she explored, and worked in, South America and Africa with her then husband George, often journeying through literally uncharted territory in their quest to find new hiking routes. The discovery of an ancient trail over the Andes inspired their first guidebook Backpacking Along Ancient Ways in Peru and Bolivia which included the very first descriptions of the Inca Trail. From 1977 to 1980 the pair wrote several backpacking guides and set up Bradt Enterprises, the precursor to Bradt Guides. Finding herself single again in 1980, Hilary continued publishing guides while working as a tour leader, heading treks to South America and creating wildlife tours in Madagascar.

Join Hilary as she relives in detail the rigours of travel before the days of the internet or mobile phones including getting lost in jungles, travelling through hostile territory, smuggling George across an international border, and frequently being arrested despite efforts to be responsible tourists. Share Hilary’s delight at the abundance of wildlife she encountered, from mountain gorillas in Rwanda to blue-footed boobies in Galapagos and from tree frogs in Ecuador to rockhopper penguins in the Falkland Islands. Learn how Hilary’s lack of experience made the early days of publishing quite unlike those of any other successful publisher. Cringe at her disastrous tour-leading experiences and laugh (or cry) at her ability to court media disasters while seeking the limelight, including suggesting “ten uses for condoms in the jungle” for BBC2.

Taking the Risk is the story of an inveterate, intrepid traveller whose joyous exploration of the world has helped to transform the lives of hundreds of thousands of people – anyone who has travelled with a Bradt Guide over the last 50 years.


About the Author:

Hilary Bradt’s career as an occupational therapist ended when potential employers noticed that the time taken off for travel exceeded the periods of employment. In 1963, she hitchhiked to and around the Middle East. In 1969, she spent six months travelling from San Francisco to Rio de Janeiro. With her former husband George, she self-published her first guidebook in 1974 during an extended journey throughout South America, thus founding Bradt Guides.

Travels in Africa in 1974–77 resulted in a backpacking guide to Africa, followed by four more to South America. By 1990, she was established as a publisher, winning IPG/Sunday Times Small Publisher of the Year in 1997. For the first 25 years she combined writing guidebooks and running the company with leading adventure and natural history tours to South America, Africa and Madagascar. Her contributions to tourism have resulted in an MBE, among other major awards. For more info, visit hilarybradt.com

About the Moderator:

Thomas Swick was the travel editor of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel from 1989 to 2008. His work has appeared in numerous print and online publications, as well as in six editions of The Best American Travel Writing. His most recent book is the memoir Falling into Place: A Story of Love, Poland, and the Making of a Travel Writer. He lives with his wife Hania in Fort Lauderdale and in his free time does cartooning and street photography.