Zoya Yeadon, Mauritius

Floating, not drowning. Surrounded by dancing light and a deep blue. Dreaming in a peaceful sea. Zoya Yeadon is a strong swimmer. But that is the most unspectacular thing you can say about her. Born in Mauritius, she really is, as her father (also in the picture) says, “a nomad at heart”. Curious about the world. She has spent the last five years in a mobile home in which she has travelled through more than 80 countries. She is being taught within a program of Wolsey Hall Oxford, a home-schooling college, maybe the most famous, certainly one of the oldest schools of its type, founded in 1894.

Her best subjects? Geography, of course. And maths and English. Apart from her mother tongue, Zoya also has a good command of Russian and French.

Her father describes her as “surprisingly resilient” and “steadfast in a crisis”. Cheerful and fearless – for instance, when she talks about her travels in front of 120 children and adults. Zoya uses a Leica of her father’s to take photographs.

And if it existed, we would have to present Zoya with an additional award. She certainly has travelled furthest of all the award winners to be in Vienna on the evening of the Award Ceremony on 14 November 2022. Landing in Dubai, she started out for Vienna on 10 October. In her father’s car, via Saudi-Arabia, Jordan, Israel, then on the ferry to Greece… (Text by Peter-Matthias Gaede)

Discover more: Shortlist 2022, Winners 2022