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Two Vertebrate Titles Shortlisted for Boardman Tasker Prize 2014

Monday, 8th September 2014

Vertebrate Publishing, one of the UK’s leading independent publishers of outdoor books, has had two of its titles shortlisted for the 2014 Boardman Tasker Prize for Mountain Literature. Hanging On by Martin Boysen and My Father, Frank by Tony Smythe join four other titles on this year’s shortlist.

Established in 1983, this prestigious international prize is presented annually by the Boardman Tasker Charitable Trust. The Trust promotes literature by awarding an annual prize to authors of literary works, which centre upon a mountain theme.

Vertebrate’s shortlisted books – Hanging On and My Father, Frankreflect the publisher’s expertise in producing first-rate mountaineering literature. Hanging On, the autobiography of trailblazing climber Martin Boysen, gives a unique glimpse into British climbing’s ‘golden age’ through the eyes of one of its leading stars. The book explores Martin’s pioneering role in establishing new rock climbing routes in the UK, as well as the crucial part he played in expeditions such as that led by Sir Chris Bonington up the south face of Annapurna in 1970 and as a member of the second summit team on the south-west face of Everest.

Its companion on the shortlist, My Father, Frank, is published under Vertebrate imprint Bâton Wicks. It explores the life Frank Smythe, the prominent early-20th-century mountaineer, writer, photographer and broadcaster. While he reached millions with tales of his exploits in the mountains, Frank remained resolutely private about his life away from climbing; this compelling and thoughtful biography written by his son Tony Smythe, gives a window into Frank's tumultuous home life as well as his remarkable mountaineering achievements.

Vertebrate's Publishing Manager John Coefield commented: ‘To see our books shortlisted for the Boardman Tasker Prize for a fifth year makes us immensely proud. It’s testament to the brilliant writing of our authors, and the hard work of our publishing team here in Sheffield. The number and quality of entries for the 2014 prize demonstrates just how strong the genre of mountain literature is – shortlisting down to six books must have been incredibly difficult for this year’s judges.’

This year’s six-title shortlist contains a variety of strong titles, including Tears of the Dawn, a riveting autobiographical account of Jules Lines’ three decades of extreme climbing, and In Search of Peaks, Passes and Glaciers by Frank Nugent, a book which teases out the impressive Irish connections to early Alpine history.

The Boardman Tasker Prize commemorates the lives of Peter Boardman and Joe Tasker – outstanding mountaineers and accomplished authors – who disappeared together high on Everest in 1982. It is given to the author or co-authors of an original work that has made an outstanding contribution to mountain literature.

This is the fifth year that a Vertebrate title has made the shortlist, with Vertebrate titles winning on two occasions: Ron Fawcett’s Rock Athlete in 2010 and Andy Kirkpatrick’s Cold Wars in 2012.

As has become tradition in recent years, the winner will be announced at a special ceremony as part of the Kendal Mountain Festival in November.

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