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Andy Kirkpatrick's Cold Wars wins Boardman Tasker Prize

Friday, 16th November 2012

Andy Kirkpatrick wins the 2012 Boardman Tasker Prize for Mountain Literature for his book Cold Wars. Photo: Henry Iddon.

Photo: Henry Iddon.

We're delighted to announce that Cold Wars, the second book by mountaineer Andy Kirkpatrick, has won the 2012 Boardman Tasker Prize for Mountain Literature. He becomes one of only three authors to win the Prize on more than one occasion, following Paul Pritchard and Jim Perrin.

Cold Wars Cover Image by Andy Kirkpatrick.

2012 marks the 30th anniversary of this prestigious Prize which commemorates the lives of Peter Boardman and Joe Tasker – outstanding mountaineers and accomplished authors – who disappeared together high on Mount Everest in 1982. It is presented by the Boardman Tasker Charitable Trust, which promotes literature by providing an award to authors of literary works, the central theme of which is concerned with mountains.

Chair of judges Bernard Newman said of Cold Wars: 'Andy’s effortless narrative takes the reader into parallel worlds of parenthood and extreme climbing with the reader emerging unsure which is the scariest or more demanding. He is acutely observant of people: his peerless portrayal of the leading characters only matched by his depiction of alpinism at the highest level. There are lighter moments of course, this is Andy Kirkpatrick after all, and his mastery of irony and self deprecation shines through with satisfying regularity. ... A book which celebrates all that is best in mountaineering literature and the Boardman Tasker Award in particular.'

Kirkpatrick won his first Boardman Tasker Prize in 2008 for his debut book Psychovertical, published by Hutchinson. His follow up Cold Wars is published by independent publisher Vertebrate Publishing.

This year’s shortlist featured several strong titles, including Wade Davis’s Into the Silence, recently awarded the Samuel Johnson Prize, and Cold Wars was one of two Vertebrate titles shortlisted for this year's award, the other being Simon Yates's acclaimed book The Wild Within. Past winners include Joe Simpson’s Touching the Void, and Learning to Breathe by miner-turned-mountaineer Andy Cave.

Commenting on the award, Kirkpatrick said: It's not often that I'm lost for words, but hearing the words "and the winner is Cold Wars by Andy Kirkpatrick" was one of the most emotional moments of my life. I guess being up against Gordon Stainforth, who'd already won at Banff, as well as Wade Davis, whose book had won the Samuel Johnson Prize, I thought my chances where slim, as all the books were very strong this year. I often joke that I don't mind winning, but hate losing, but winning the BT means a lot.'

This is also the second time that a Vertebrate title has won the Boardman Tasker, following the presentation of the Prize to Ron Fawcett's autobiography Rock Athlete in 2010. Vertebrate also holds the UK rights to 1997 winner Deep Play, by Paul Pritchard, 2009 winner Beyond the Mountain, by Steve House, and 2011 winner Freedom Climbers, by Bernadette McDonald.

[Updated 19 November with quote from Bernard Newman, chair of judges 2012.]

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