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University lecturer’s debut book honour as she brings Tall Ships to life

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Published on 24 July 2018

University of Sunderland lecturer Naomi Austin
University of Sunderland lecturer Naomi Austin

It has been quite a month for University of Sunderland lecturer Naomi Austin.

First of all her debut book, The Call of the Seas, is published to critical acclaim.

Then, she takes part in the Tall Ships Races, setting sail from Sunderland to Denmark.

Next, she is preparing to open an art exhibition featuring digital drawings from her book at Arts Centre Washington.

And now, she has been told The Call of the Sea – a 288-page publication based on the Tall Ships – has been nominated for The Mountbatten Award for Best Book.

Speaking from Sirevag in Norway, Naomi, a senior lecturer in Fashion, said: “I’m a bit overcome with everything at the moment, I just can’t believe it.

“I’m currently sailing from Denmark to Norway and I just heard about the nomination when I was checking me emails. It all seems so surreal.”

The Call of the Sea contains digital drawing created by Naomi of the Tall Ships as well as a chapter on the history of shipbuilding on the Wear.

Naomi’s love affair with the ships can be traced back to the summer of 1993 when, as a shy young woman, she got the opportunity to take part in the Races when the event visited the Tyne.

Naomi said: “What I didn’t know at the time was just how life changing it was all going to be.

 “I was really struggling, lacking a lot of confidence. But, you know what, I came off that ship a completely different person – it changed everything.”


Naomi was so inspired by her journey that, last year, she began work on her debut book. The Call of the Sea was published ahead of the return of the Tall Ship Races, this time to Sunderland.

Complete with foreword from architect, TV presenter and University of Sunderland honorary graduate George Clarke, the coffee-table book is packed with digital images, shipbuilding testimonials and beautiful photographs.

Last week Naomi set sail from the Wear onboard the Alexander Von Humboldt II, sailing from Sunderland to Esbjerg, before boarding the Statsraad Lehmkuhl to sail to Norway.

To order The Call of the Sea, visit https://thecallofthesea.printtrail.com

Naomi’s The Call of the Sea Exhibition will be at Arts Centre Washington between 3 August and 1 September.