Interest in the Boardman Tasker (BT) Award for Mountain Literature remains as great as ever and this year’s competition has resulted in 35 books being submitted,from personal journeys and adventures, poetry, biographies and autobiographies to novels. For the full details of all the submitted books, please see the new BT website, www.boardmantasker.com. The last three
years have seen well over 100 entries and a very high standard of submission has generally emerged.
This year’s judges Graham Desroy (Chair), Terry Gifford and Helen Mort have selected the following books for this year’s shortlist:
Alex Honnold with David Roberts
Alone on the Wall
The cover of this book sends a shiver down the spine. The life of an unroped solo climber is its sensational subject. But it is the quality of Alex Honnold’s articulation of his approach to this purest of pursuits that grabs the reader, together with his honesty about the personal costs of his lifestyle and amazing achievements, contextualised by David Roberts in this well crafted book.
Simon McCartney’s title is the theme of his book the bond between climbers upon which he increasingly comes to rely in his accounts of two epic new routes in Alaska in 1978 and 1980 that demonstrate a remarkable self awareness verging upon hubris, as he readily admits.
(W.W.Norton & Co)
When a smoking Mount St Helens actually erupted on a spring Sunday morning in 1980 fiftyseven people were killed, some as far as thirteen miles away. Steve Olson not only tells their personal stories, but also turns the tension between the science and thecultural assumptions at play on that day into a drama that reads like a tragic thriller.
More than the story of ‘the man who made Friends’, this book reveals that the spirit brought to bear on friendships, climbs, BMC management and tough business dilemmas,can be harnessed to deal with the onset of Parkinson’s disease in a direct and at times humorous narrative.
The Maverick Mountaineer
(Allen & Unwin)
It was the Australian rebel George Finch who demonstrated the value of oxygen in reaching almost 27,000 feet on Everest in 1922. But Robert Wainwright’s biography also reveals an eccentric scientist and inventor whose complicated personal life extended to his strange relationship with his son, the actor Peter Finch.
* All comments on the books are courtesy of Terry Gifford
The winner of the Boardman Tasker Award for Mountain Literature will be a book that Pete and Joe would be proud of being associated with. The winner will be announced on November 18th 2016 at the Kendal Mountain Festival after the BT Shortlisted Authors event. Stephen Venables, mountaineer and writer will chat with the shortlisted authors, and they will all read from their books. The anniversary of Pete and Joe’s Changabang in 1976 will be marked by a display.
See www.mountainfest.co.uk for further details.
Boardman Tasker Charitable Trust