Canadian writer,Bernadette McDonald has been announced as the 2011 winner of the Boardman-Tasker award for mountain literature. Her book 'Freedom Climbers' recently walked of with the prestigious Grand Prize at the Banff Mountain Book Festival.
Bernadette McDonald's book, published by Rocky Mountain Books in October 2011, gives an account of the bravery and dedication of Polish climbers and their race for Himalayan peaks in the 1980s. McDonald puts forth the theory that the difficult conditions that martial law imposed on Polish society charged these climbers with the resilience to be the best in the world.
The book recreates the challenges that Polish climbers faced in pursuing their sky-high goals, detailing Voytek Kurtyka's remarkable conquest of Gasherbrum IV and Wanda Rutkiewicz's pioneer ascent of K2 as the first woman to do so in history, along with the personal stories of their friends and colleagues, many of whom perished in the punishing conditions of winter in the Himalayas.
Bernadette is the founding vice-president of Mountain Culture at the Banff Centre and the author of seven books on international mountaineering. She is the winner of numerous awards including the Alberta Order of Excellence, the Summit of Excellence Award from the Banff Centre, the King Albert Award for international leadership in the field of mountain culture and environment, and the Queen’s Golden Jubilee Medal.