Boardman Tasker shortlist: the fantastic four

Posted by Tony Ryan on 11/09/2013
Boardman and Tasker on the West Ridge of Kangchenjunga. Photo: Doug Scott

The untold story of the man who made the first ascent of Everest possible, and a tribute to British icons of mountain exploration, Eric Shipton and Bill Tilman, are among four books on the shortlist for the 2013 Boardman Tasker Prize for Mountain Literature.

The £3,000 prize commemorates the lives of Peter Boardman and Joe Tasker, who disappeared on Everest in 1982 whilst attempting the unclimbed North East Ridge. As well as leaving a climbing record of bold, lightweight ascents on high Himalayan peaks, Pete and Joe left behind a fine literary legacy including Savage Arena, Shining Mountain, Sacred Summits, and Everest the Cruel Way.

30 entries were submitted this year, and the judging panel commented that they were of a particularly high standard overall; it was one of the best years so far for quality. The range of subject matter was very diverse and included biography, fiction, historical material, travel accounts and spiritual writing. It being the 60th anniversary of the first ascent, Everest continues to fascinate writers.

The judges: bibliophile and writer Chris Harle (Chair), writer and noted mountaineering historian Audrey Salkeld, and Shannon O'Donoghue, former director of the Banff Mountain Film Festival and Banff Mountain Book Festival, whittled down the entries to a shortlist of four:

Echoes: one climber’s hard road to freedom by Nick Bullock
A gripping account of visceral prison scenes and compelling climbing action from one of Britain's best and most committed climbing all-rounders.

Everest The First Ascent: the untold story of Griffith Pugh, the man who made it possible by Harriet Tuckey
Immensely readable biography of the 1953 expedition doctor and physiologist, the author's 'difficult, bad-tempered father' who she lived with in an 'uncommunicative co-existence'.

Shipton & Tilman: the great decade of Himalayan exploration by Jim Perrin
A well researched tribute to those British icons of mountain exploration from a multi-award winning author. 

Starry Night by Isabel Suppé
An inspiring and imaginative telling of a personal mountaineering accident from a self-confessed nomad of the world, who speaks five languages.

The presentation of the 2013 Boardman Tasker Award for Mountain Literature will take place on Friday 15 November at the Brewery Arts Centre in Kendal, as part of the Kendal Mountain Festival. The event will be preceded by the Short Listed Authors event and will be followed by the first presentation of the BT Young Writer's Award.



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