The nine authors nominated for the 2018 Boardman Tasker Award for Mountain Literature include longtime veterans of the genre and newer names alike. From Junko Tabei’s memoir—finished by Helen Rolfe after Tabei, the first woman to climb Everest, passed away in 2016—to a collection of essays by David Roberts; from Doug Scott’s mountain history of the Ogre to Paolo Cognetti’s novel set in Italy; from Nick Bullock’s memoir of high-end climbing to Ed Douglas and John Beatty’s reflections on Kinder Scout to Chistoph Ransmayr’s novel about a pair of Irishmen seeking a summit in Tibet, the seven books on the shortlist capture the diversity of experience that we find in the act of climbing mountains.
Among this year’s nominees are David Roberts’ Limits of the Known. An edited version of the chapter “Prehistoric 5.10”—an essay looking at how and why the Anasazi and other ancient climbers, with no knowledge of modern techniques and gear, accessed cliffs too difficult and dangerous even for modern climbers—ran as a feature in the 2018 issue of Ascent.
The judges Peter Gilman, Roger Hubank and Kate Moorehead culled 38 worthy submissions to produce this shortlist of seven exceptional pieces of literature. They will now choose one novel to receive the final award. The winner will be announced on November 16, at the Kendal Mountain Festival. According to its website, the £3,000 Boardman Tasker Prize “commemorates the lives of Peter Boardman and Joe Tasker and is given to the author or co-authors of an original work, which has made an outstanding contribution to mountain literature.”
An enlightening memoir by an accomplished writer and climber that provides a window into the nature of extreme climbing now and over the past thirty years.
A widely praised novel by an Italian author that details the intriguing friendship between a mountain cow herder and a city boy from Milan, played out over three decades in the Dolomites.
An evocative celebration of a much-loved mountain, presented by a partnership between two of Britain’s finest mountain writers and photographers.
A second work of fiction, audaciously told in blank verse by Austrian author Christoph Ransmayr, that follows the journey of two brothers from southwest Ireland as they pursue a quest for an unnamed mountain in Tibet.
Limits of the Known
W.W. Norton & Sons
An enthralling examination – part history, part memoir – of the motivations of mountaineers and other explorers, related by veteran US author and climber David Roberts.
The Ogre: Biography of a Mountain and the Dramatic Story of the First Ascent
The long awaited full account of the epic accident and rescue on the Ogre in the Karakorum in 1977, together with an enlightening history of the exploration of the mountain.
Honouring High Places: The Mountain Life of Junko Tabei
Rocky Mountain Books
A revealing biography of the life of the first woman to climb both Mount Everest and the Seven Summits, based on her memoirs and completed by Canadian writer Helen Rolfe.