The shortlist for the 2020 Boardman Tasker Award for Mountain Literature has been announced. 22 entries were submitted from Great Britain, Ireland, Canada, New Zealand and the USA.
The Boardman Tasker Award was established in 1983 to commemorate the lives of Peter Boardman and Joe Tasker – outstanding mountaineers and accomplished authors – who disappeared together high on Everest in 1982. The £3,000 prize is presented annually to the author or co-authors of an original work that has made an outstanding contribution to mountain literature.
The judges for 2020 are Katie Ives (Chair), Editor-in-Chief of Alpinist, David Canning, poet and author and Michael Kosterlitz, 2016 winner of the Nobel Prize in Physics and climbing pioneer.
Below are the five books that the jury have shortlisted. The winner will be announced at the Boardman Tasker Shortlisted Authors and Awards event at Kendal Mountain Festival Online, at 7 to 9 p.m. (UK time) on Saturday 21st November 2020.
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 clichés in favour 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
New Welsh Rarebyte
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
Little, Brown Book Group. Virago Press
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.