Book Prize On The Rocks?

Tuesday, 1 December 2009

Lots of chat today about whether the Boardman Tasker Prize is biased against books about rock climbing. This was prompted by Phil Bartlett's speech, available on Calm & Fearless, which pondered the eligibility of Jerry Moffatt's autobiography Revelations, ghosted by Niall Grimes.  I often hear older climbers saying that the quality of writing about rock climbing has sagged in recent years, perhaps a reflection on how the sport has focussed more on performance than exploration. What is there to say about modern rock climbing? I'm reminded of Frank Zappa describing rock journalism as people who can't write interviewing people who can't talk for people who can't read. Hokum, of course, usually promulgated by people standing on remote summits looking down on the rest of humanity. Why shouldn't there be  a great book about rock climbing? There has been in the past. The question is, if such a thing came along, would the typical Boardman Tasker jury be open-minded enough to chose it above a mountaineering book?

Posted by Ed Douglas at 5.31 PM