British hill and crag literature: into the 21st century
- ISBN: 978-1-902173-28-3192 pages
- Chris Harle and Graham Wilson
- Publication date
- 1 Jan 2009
Mountaineering literature, with its cast of heroes and eccentrics and everything from high drama to understated wit, is collected almost as eagerly as the routes and summits themselves. For such enthusiasts, Graham Wilson and Chris Harle have teamed up to produce Mountain Words, a book that is entertaining, informative and provides an invaluable round-up of British hill and crag writing over the last 25 years.
Part I of Mountain Words is a series of essays on mountain literature by Graham Wilson, shortlisted for the Boardman Tasker Prize for his earlier book A Rope of Writers. Part II is a detailed bibliography by climber and bookseller Chris Harle of over 250 British mountain and hill books published between 1983 and 2008. Each entry contains the usual bibliographic details and a short description of the content. For a title to be included, Harle and Wilson decided it had to be the sort of book you would settle down to read – including fiction, biography, history, humour – rather than a straightforward guidebook. Also included is a list of all Boardman Tasker prize winners and short-listed books since the award began in 1983, and a list of the authors' Top Fifty recommended books published before 1983.
Chris Harle's passion for mountain literature was inspired by reading Buhl's Nanga Parbat Pilgrimage. Born in Kent in 1958 and educated in Essex and London, he escaped in 1981 to South Wales, where he fell in love with football and in love with the mountains. For most of his working life, he has been involved in outdoor development training. He now lives in Matlock with his wife Jane and is the 'book man' for the Outside shops.
Mountain highlights over the last few years include completing a Coast to Coast across Scotland, an expedition to Chiring We (6,559 metres) in the Indian Himalaya, adventure climbing in Jordan and a bivvy on the Cuillin Ridge.
Graham Wilson's climbing career began on the crags of the North East in the 1950s but it was not until he retired as Head of English at the King's School in Macclesfield that he started to write about his long acquaintance with the British hills. Since then, he has had seven 'outdoor' books published, as well as a collection of short stories, a study of Shakespeare and an appraisal of English rugby. His book A Rope of Writers was short-listed for the Boardman Tasker Prize.
He is an ardent Sunderland supporter and was also for many years an English Schools rugby selector. He has live in Macclesfield with his wife Trisha for over 40 years.
- Title: Mountain Words
- Subtitle: British hill and crag literature: into the 21st century
- Author: Chris Harle and Graham Wilson
- Imprint: Millrace Outdoor
- ISBN: 9781902173283
- Rights: Worldwide
- Publication date: 2009
- Edition: First
- Format: Hardback
- Size: 170mm x 120mm
- Extent: 192pp, B&W text
- Weight: 320g
- Retail price: £10.99
What an utter joy of a book, to be read and re-read and then used to chase down all those books that you've just got to read. An absolute must for all who appreciate the very best of mountain writing. – John Ignatius Murray, Irish Mountain Log, Spring 2010
What [this] admirable work indicates is the need for an inclusive and critical overview of mountaineering writing in English. It is amazing that we don’t have one. Meanwhile Mountain Words, in its two halves, provides plenty to argue about and take back into re-reading this ongoing rich heritage in which the Boardman Tasker Award can now be seen to play a central role. – Terry Gifford, Alpine Journal 2009