Five books are on the shortlist for the Boardman-Tasker Award this year, and Alpinist Editor-in-Chief Katie Ives is concluding her two-year term limit as a judge.
The Boardman-Tasker website describes the following criteria:
Books with mountain, not necessarily mountaineering, theme whether fiction, non-fiction, drama or poetry, written in the English language (initially or in translation) will be eligible…. The Prize will be awarded for a work published or distributed in the United Kingdom for the first time between [August 1, 2019] and [July 15], 2020.
This year, Ives (Chair) and her fellow judges David Canning and Michael Kosterlitz saw 22 entries from Great Britain, Ireland, Canada, New Zealand and the USA. Of those, the five titles that made the 2020 shortlist, as listed in the press release, are:
The Unremembered Places: Exploring Scotland’s Wild Histories
A lyrical exploration of Scotland’s regions of “rumor and folklore,” of hidden places and often- forgotten tales, that makes a compelling argument for a greater examination of “wild histories” beyond the most well-trodden narratives of adventure.
Where There’s a Will: Hope, Grief and Endurance in a Cycle Race Across a Continent
A book that transcends the genre of sports memoirs with prose that deftly captures the physical and psychological intensity of ultra-distance cycling, as well as the struggles of depression and grief, rejecting inspirational cliches in favor of a complex, honest and profoundly human vision.
The Uncrowned King of Mont Blanc: The Life of T. Graham Brown, Physiologist and Mountaineer
An intricately researched biography of a Scottish mountaineer whose contributions to climbing history on Mont Blanc and other mountains have long deserved a close look– and whose life and personality may have contained enigmas as challenging as the routes that he climbed.
Slatehead: The Ascent of Britain’s Slate-Climbing Scene
An in-depth history of the climbs and characters of British slate quarries that is also a meditation on the nature of obsession, on the persistence of wildness in unexpected parts of a post-industrial world, and on the rock itself, at times sharp, lustrous and strangely beautiful.
Jessica J. Lee
Two Trees Make a Forest: On Memory, Migration and Taiwan
A poetic and deeply moving account of Taiwan’s mountains, waters and forests that interweaves the author’s experiences of hiking with recollections of political, cultural and family histories, creating portraits of landscapes haunted by memory and longing.
The award will be presented during the Digital Kendal Mountain Festival on November 21.
The website reads:
On 17 May 1982 Peter Boardman and Joe Tasker were last seen on Mount Everest attempting to traverse The Pinnacles on the unclimbed North East Ridge at around 8250 meters. Their deaths marked the end of their contribution to a remarkable era in British mountaineering….
The Boardman Tasker Award highlights afresh the memory of Pete and Joe, but it also seeks to do more than just that. The Award recognizes and rewards outstanding literature concerned with the mountain environment: books which will in turn challenge and inspire their readers, perhaps to climb or explore the world of mountains, perhaps to write or perhaps to look at the world in a different way. Perpetuating and refreshing the challenge and inspiration of mountains through literature is one way in which we seek to remember them.