My third African travel book, EMPIRE ROAD, is now available in all good bookshops, and probably a few dodgy ones too. The launch party, as always, was a celebration with tea and cake.

The book has already been reviewed warmly by the good folks at OVERLAND MAGAZINE and initial responses from readers has been very good.

Buy a copy here.

BOOK BLURB: On his third solo African motorcycle journey, Alan Whelan turns to one of the defining features of the continent: Lake Victoria. Using the lake as a hub, Empire Road reveals the beauty and the tragedy, the inspiration and the ingenuity of a region that still resonates from the days of empire. After acquiring a boda-boda motorcycle taxi in Nairobi, he undertakes a thrilling ride around Africa's greatest lake, travelling through Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi and Tanzania, on roads and tracks that once brought the great Victorian explorers to the interior. Alan continues his uncanny knack of meeting the most fascinating people who will live long in the memory, from Kenya's superstar long-distance runners to survivors of the Rwandan genocide. He even finds time for an impromptu audience with Barack Obama's elusive Kenyan grandmother. 

My annual pilgrimage to Wordstock, organised by writers' collective 26 – ‘for the love of words in business and in life’ – never fails to inspire and challenge, and occasionally baffle. In a good way.

This year’s theme for the all-day event was The Future. There were talks and presentations on A History of the Future in 100 Objects by Adrian Hon, the next generation of performance capture technology in film, and the growing world of storytelling through computer games.

The headline spots were Andy Serkis (shaky iPhone pic below) and Alex Garland (above, right). Andy Serkis is a director and actor best known for his portrayals of Gollum, King Kong and revolutionary ape Caesar in the Planet of the Apes. He has also played Ian Dury, Ian Brady and Albert Einstein. Nothing if not versatile.

The third Word festival is almost upon us. If you are a writer (of any hue) in the northwest of England or just have a love of the written word, put September 20 2014 in your diary now.

Or better still click here and buy yourself a ticket to this great one-day festival at the New Continental in Preston, Lancashire.