Nov. 20 Virtual Exploration: Guyana, Suriname, and French Guiana With Author John Gimlette

November’s “Virtual Exploration” investigates Guyana, Suriname, and French Guiana. These three small countries are among the least known but some of the most wildly intriguing places on Earth. Imagine 900 miles of muddy coastline giving way to a forest so dense that even today there are virtually no roads through it; a string of rickety coastal towns situated between the mouths of the Orinoco and Amazon Rivers, where living is so difficult that as many Guianese live abroad as in their homelands; an interior of watery, green anarchy where border disputes are often based on ancient Elizabethan maps, where flora and fauna are still being discovered, where thousands of rivers remain mostly impassable.

Our guide will be John Gimlette, the author of Wild Coast, a brilliantly offbeat, irreverent, and canny recounting of a three-month long expedition deep into a remarkable world of swamp and jungle, from the hideouts of runaway slaves to the vegetation-strangled remnants of penal colonies and forts, from “Little Paris” to a settlement built around a satellite launch pad.

John has won the Shiva Naipaul Prize for travel writing, and, since then, has also contributed articles and photographs to a wide range of magazines and broadsheet newspapers. In addition to Wild Coast, John has written six other travel books. The first two were nominated by The New York Times as being among the “100 Notable Books of the Year,” and Wild Coast won the Dolman Travel Book Prize for 2012. It was also named by The Daily Telegraph as one on the ‘Twenty Best Travel Books of all Time.”

John’s travels have taken him to places as diverse as Eritrea and Laos, through most of South America, and to over 80 countries in between. He is a practicing barrister (an attorney who argues in court in the British system), living in London with his wife, Jayne Constantinis, who is a television presenter.

Questions? Contact St Louis TCC Coordinator Charles Merkel at, 1-314-644-7797.

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