Banff Book Festival – Winners Announced

by Banff In dramatically different ways, Sid Marty´s book The Black Grizzly of Whiskey Creek and Robert MacFarlane´s The Wild Places both investigate the thin borderline where the familiar disappears intowilderness. Marty´s book tells a true tale of a summer 30 years ago,when the town of Banff´s idyllic relationship with the wild suddenlyturned deadly. MacFarlane takes a personal journey, walking, climbing,and hiking in search of the last shreds of Britain and Ireland thathave remained outside civilization.The books share the Grand Prize from the 2008 Banff Mountain BookFestival. The Phyllis and Don Munday Award, sponsored by the AlbertaSections of the Alpine Club of Canada, comes with a $2,000 prize. The Black Grizzly of Whiskey Creek (McClelland & Stewart, Canada, 2008) and The Wild Places (Granta Books, UK, 2007, and Penguin Group USA, 2008) were among 32 finalists in five categories. The Jon Whyte Award for Mountain Literature, sponsored by the WhyteMuseum of the Canadian Rockies, was awarded to Nick Heil for Dark Summit (Random House, Canada, 2008). A meticulously researched account ofEverest´s second-deadliest season (2006), the book is described by jurymember John Harlin as an ?exquisitely crafted and fast-paced tale… thatdraws in even us Everest curmudgeons by humanizing the participants,building initial empathy for their dreams, and then cold shivers fortheir nightmares.? Fallen Giants (Yale University Press, USA, 2008) by MauriceIsserman and Stewart Weaver, won the James Monroe Thorington Award forthe Best Book of Mountaineering History, sponsored by the UIAA (theInternational Mountaineering and Climbing Federation). Subtitled A History of Himalayan Mountaineering from the Age of Empire to the Age of Extremes,the book begins before Sir Edmund Hillary began his attempts onEverest, and provides an illustrated and detailed account ofsignificant expeditions since 1890. The award for Best Book ? Mountain Exposition, sponsored by YamnuskaMountain Adventures, went to Chris Craggs and Thorbjorn Enevold for Lofoten Rock (Rockfax, UK, 2008). A comprehensive guide to an imposing and remotecollection of granite climbing sites off the west coast of Norway, theguide was praised by Harlin: ?We can´t imagine how another guidebookformula could make a complex climbing area easier to navigate or moreenticing to visit.? (See UKC News) Known for his popular ten-year series of ?The Hard Way? columns in Outside Magazine,Mark Jenkins has won the award for Best Book ? Adventure Travel,sponsored by Batstar Adventure Tours. His winning book, a collection ofessays called A Man´s Life: Dispatches from Dangerous Places (Rodale Press, USA, 2007), journeys to the ends of the earth ? Burma,Bhutan, Afghanistan, Uganda, Lithuania ? testing the limits andengaging with the locals. ?Perhaps no adventure writer has travelled sowidely, or with such a combination of passion, insight, and literarygrace,? Harlin says. A luminous photographic account of one of the iconic peaks of the Alps, Mario Colonel´s Mont Blanc (Mario Colonel Editions, France, 2008) wins the award for Best Book ?Mountain Image, sponsored by Rocky Mountain Books, and the jury choseDavid Leach´s Fatal Tide: When the Race of a Lifetime Goes Wrong (Penguin Group, Canada, 2008) for a Special Jury Mention.Sid Marty´s The Black Grizzly of Whiskey Creek also took homethe Canadian Rockies Award, sponsored by Deuter and chosen by a localcommittee. The award goes annually to a work of particular regionalsignificance.The 2008 Banff Mountain Book Awards jury included Julie Tait,director of the Kendal Mountain Book Festival in the U.K.; John HarlinIII, author and editor of the American Alpine Journal; and David Chaundy-Smart, editor of Gripped, Canada´s climbing magazine.