Climbing Autobiography Takes Top
Honours at Banff Mountain Book Festival
The autobiography of
one of Scotlands best-loved mountain writers has
taken the Grand Prize at this years Banff Mountain
Book Festival. The Evidence of Things Not Seen, by the
late W.H. Murray, is the winner of the festival Grand
Prize, the $2000 Phyllis and Don Munday Award,
sponsored by the Alberta Sections of The Alpine Club
of Canada. The festival awards were presented on
Thursday, October 31.
focus on his life as a climber and mountaineer and his
many travels throughout Europe and the Himalayas. The
book also movingly describes Murrays war experiences
in the Middle East and his internment in
prisoner-of-war camps a period he used for writing
and for intense philosophical study. The Evidence of
Things Not Seen is published by Baton Wicks
Publications (U.K. 2002).
"This is a big, quiet
book that resonates far beyond the clamour of ego and
conquest," says Irish mountaineer and writer Dermot
Somers, a member of the 2002 book festival jury.
"Murray is a great writer, sadly unheralded outside
Britain," adds Geoff Powter, editor of the Canadian
Alpine Journal and a fellow jury member. "To have this
book come our way is a great gift. "The Evidence of
Things Not Seen is a very engaging portrait of a time
and a man."
Joining Somers and
Powter on the 2002 Banff Mountain Book Festival jury
was New Zealand mountaineer Julie-Ann Clyma. One
hundred and twenty-eight books were entered in the
ninth annual competition.
Above the Clouds : The Diaries of a High-Altitude
by Anatoli Boukreev and Linda Wylie (editor), wins the
Jon Whyte Award for Mountain Literature, sponsored by
The Whyte Museum of the Canadian Rockies. The book is
a compilation of Boukreevs mountaineering diaries
from 1989 to his death on Annapurna in 1997. A Russian
mountaineer, Boukreev is best known for his role in
the 1996 Everest tragedy. "Above the Clouds is an
interesting addition to the on-going Into Thin Air
debate," says Powter. "It presents a much more rounded
and sympathetic view of this important and to some
extent sidelined player in the history of the
Himalaya." Above the Clouds is published by Saint
Martins Press (USA, 2001).
The award for Best
Book Adventure Travel goes to Jerry Kobalenko for
The Horizontal Everest: Extreme Journeys on Ellesmere
Island, published by Penguin Books / Soho Press Inc.
(USA, 2002). In the book, Kobalenko explores the past
and present of this forbidding but beautiful
landscape. Clyma comments: "Kobalenkos The Horizontal
Everest stood out. He writes with passion, clarity and
praise be some humour. I found myself smiling a
lot at his observations." The Adventure Travel Award
is sponsored by Batstar Adventure Tours.
Selkirks South, by
David P. Jones, published by Elaho Press (Canada,
2001), wins the Best Book Mountain Exposition Award,
sponsored by Mountain Lights Bookstore, Lake Louise.
"This is a book that will change how we measure our
mountains in Canada, and thats a remarkable
achievement," says Powter.
Photography a compilation of mountain images by
Canadian Rockies mountaineer, filmmaker and
photographer Bruno Engler (1915-2001) wins the award
for Best Book Mountain Image, sponsored by Spotted
Dog Press. The book was edited by Vera
Matrasova-Engler and Susan Engler Potts and published
by Rocky Mountain Books (Canada, 2001). Bruno Engler
Photography also wins the Canadian Rockies Award for
the best book on the local area, sponsored by Eagle
Creek Travel Gear. The Canadian Rockies Award is
chosen by a local committee.
The jury also
selected the following books for Special Jury
- Climbing Free: My
Life in the Vertical World by Lynn Hill with Greg
Child, W.W. Norton & Company (USA, 2002 ). "This
book makes an important contribution in documenting
a period of phenomenal development in rock climbing,
epitomized by Lynn Hill," says Clyma.
- Light at the Edge
of the World by Wade Davis, Douglas & McIntyre
(Canada, 2001). "A remarkable book especially
given that it reveals that Davis ability with the
lens is just as sharp as his fluency with prose,"
- North, by Roger
Hubank, The Ernest Press (Scotland, 2002 ). "A
powerfully creative work," says Somers.
The Evidence of
Things Not Seen was also awarded the James Monroe
Thorington Award for best recent work on
mountaineering history, sponsored by the UIAA The
International Mountaineering and Climbing Federation.
The UIAA represents mountaineers and climbers
worldwide on all matters of common international
Photo Donald Lee Banff