Everyone needs a lucky break in this business and I had mine in the early 1990s following a stint of volunteer work on the Great Barrier Reef. With a degree in zoology from Durham University, and knowing nothing about publishing, I had this big idea for a book about coral reefs and pitched it to a few publishers in the UK. One of them, David & Charles, called my bluff and commissioned me to write and photograph Coral Reefs & Islands – The Natural History of a Threatened Paradise. The research for the book ignited my wanderlust – taking me from the South Pacific to Belize and the Maldives.
I was thrilled when it was highly commended in the 1993 Conservation Book Prize. Maintaining a focus on wildlife conservation and responsible travel, I started widening the net, writing for newspapers and magazines and selling my photographs through picture libraries. One or two guidebook commissions came my way and I started giving photography talks on cruise ships and at travel shows.
It was all about building up contacts, slowly but surely. Then we had twins and family travel, well, just sort of happened! I began to break that cardinal rule of business: ‘Never work with children or animals.’
William Gray is an award-winning travel writer, photographer, zoologist and conservationist,
AITO Travel Writer of the Year
Winner: 2002; Runner-up: 1999, 2003
Travel Writer of the Year
British Guild of Travel Writers Awards Runner-up: 2009
Travel Photographer of the Year
British Guild of Travel Writers Awards Winner: 2009, 2011
British Travel Press Awards
Best Overseas Feature
British Guild of Travel Writers Awards Winner: 2001, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
Best UK Feature
British Guild of Travel Writers Awards Winner: 2000, 2002, 2009
British Guild of Travel Writers Awards Winner: 2008
Best Foreign Writer
Sabah Tourism Awards 2003
Travel Writer of the Year
Bahamas Tourist Board 2003
BBC Wildlife Travel Writing Awards
Sir Peter Kent Conservation Book Prize Highly Commended: 1993
Will’s worldwide collection of landscape, travel and wildlife photographs are represented by AWL Images and Getty Images. An experienced speaker, he was a presenter on the BBC Holiday programme and has given talks to numerous organisations and photography clubs. His new programme of photography workshops, initially covering some of his favourite UK destinations, was launched in 2018.
The author of Wildlife Travel (one of the most comprehensive guides on the subject), Travel with Kids (the definitive guide to family holidays around the world), Europe with Kids, Britain with Kids and Cornwall with Kids, Will has also written books on islands, Africa and adventure travel, as well as various ebooks covering subjects ranging from the Northern Lights to How to Write a Travel Article.
Voted fourth in the Press Gazette’s Top 50 Travel Journalists, Will has written and photographed hundreds of features for numerous publications, including Wanderlust, The Sunday Times, The Times, Sunday Telegraph, National Geographic Traveler, Guardian, The Sun and Condé Nast Traveller, and has won over 20 awards for journalism, including the coveted AITO Travel Writer of Year and BGTW Travel Photographer of the Year.
Will has also gained extensive experience as editor of the inspirational 101 Family Holidays website, Travel Africa magazine and the highly acclaimed Kenya Airways inflight magazine, Msafiri. His commercial experience covers all aspects of journalism and content creation, from writing articles, blogs, websites and newsletters to co-ordinating filming trips and undertaking product photography assignments. Former roles have included Senior Content Editor for Discover the World and Head of Communications at World Land Trust, an international conservation charity working to save the world's most threatened habitats to protect biodiversity and fight climate change.
While our twins were growing up, we were lucky enough to take them on travels all over the world. These audio diaries (recorded for BBC Radio Oxford) recount some of the more memorable trips and provide a sobering (and often hilarious) insight into what it is like to travel with kids – from babies to toddlers and beyond. Destinations range from Northumberland in the UK to South Island, New Zealand. Scroll through the tracks (there are 20 in total!) And enjoy listening!