The 2006 Banff Mountain Book Festival competition—the 14th annual—received 113 books
from nine countries. Those were narrowed down to 29 finalists by a committee, and then to
eight winners by jury members Audrey Salkeld, David Stevenson, and David Leach. Each fall,
the festival brings the spirit of outdoor adventure and the tradition of mountain literature to
Banff, featuring guest speakers, readings, seminars, an international book competition, a book fair, and book signings and launches. To see the 2006 competition results or to enter a book in an upcoming year, go to www.banffmountainfestivals.ca
Summit: 150 Years of the Alpine Club, by George Band (HarperCollins £25), is a large format history with excellent photography, told in short self-contained episodes. One jury member found its contribution greater in the book's second half wherein the histories are not already so familiar as the early years.
Himalaya: Personal Stories of Grandeur, Challenge & Hope, edited by Richard C. Blum, Erica Stone, and Broughton Coburn (National Geographic Society $35), is an elegantly presented book of photography and newly-commissioned pieces by well-known Himalayan figures, including many Sherpa writers. A joint project of the American Himalayan Foundation and the National Geographic Society, its purpose is a call for compassion and humanitarian aid.
Ice Soldiers, by Paul Watkins (Henry Holt $25), is a work of fiction set in the Italian Alps in the years following World War II. Jury members found it “engaging, if not always quite believable in its climbing scenes.”
Illustrated Atlas of the Himalaya, by David Zurick and Julsun Pacheco (University of Kentucky Press $50). Attractively illustrated with maps, this is a combination coffee table book and work of general science and geography
Burbage, Millstone and Beyond, edited by David Simmonite; Niall Grimes, series editor (British Mountaineering Council £19). An expert and exhaustive guidebook to England’s Peak District with a detailed mix of history, first-ascent lore, lists of bouldering problems, maps, and photography. Jury member Audrey Salkeld says the book “seems to have learned all the lessons of what constitutes a good and easily accessible guide.”
Shannon O’Donaghue, Director, Banff Mountain Book Festival 2006