Literary City: The Sheffield Connection
Sheffield-based publisher of adventure writing, Vertebrate, has been racking up the accolades in recent months. But it had a unique problem on its hands when one of its star writers won the prestigious Banff Festival Mountain Literature award.
Nick Bullock, accomplished alpine climber and author of the winning book Tides: A climber’s voyage, was incommunicado, out in China attempting to reach and climb one of the world’s most remote mountains, the 7,500-metre Minya Konka.
Minya Konka is the world’s third highest peak outside the Himalayas. Bullock’s exact location in this remote region was unknown; he was without satellite or phone signal, accompanied
only by his climbing partner.
Bullock may have been the last to know he has won a major international literary award. But
the Vertebrate team in Sheffield celebrated hard on his behalf.
Competition judge Ian Welsted said: “In Tides Nick Bullock carries us with him on the sought-after dream life of a pro climber, seasonally migrating from Llanberis to Chamonix, and other hotspots along the way.” Bullock also highlights the challenges of the climber’s life. Welsted continued: “All is not glory on this path, for as well as the slippery sea-cliff holds, long runouts and Himalayan storms lie other perils: self-questioning, angst at ageing, failed relationships, and a search for meaning. Evocative stories which have become campground lore.”