Literary City: The Sheffield Connection

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Adventure writing has traditionally been the territory of men. From reaching the highest

summits to enduring the harshest of conditions, there is a myriad of writing about men’s

experiences challenging themselves in the outdoors.

So, Sheffield-based publishers Vertebrate decided it was high time to redress this, and have

put together an anthology of women’s adventure writing, poetry and art. The result is

Waymaking, due for publication on 4 October.

Camilla Barnard, editor at Vertebrate and contributor to the anthology, says: “Waymaking does contain epic tales and extreme feats, but it also tells quieter, serene and more

reflective stories. Feedback so far is that the book is chiming with people’s experiences of how time outside feeds the soul. It’s relatable … we haven’t all climbed Everest, and a lot of us don’t want to!”

The book features contributions from over fifty writers and artists including world-leading Sheffield climber Hazel Findlay, poets Genevieve Carver and Helen Mort, and writer Claire Carter. Barnard continues: “I can’t thank the contributors and editors enough. We even have a

beautifully written introduction by nature writer Melissa Harrison. I am so proud of this book!

“For me the highlight is sharing such a diverse range of stories from female adventurers:

world-famous climbers, landscape artists, humorous and poignant anecdotes from part-time adventurers, extreme sports photography, from wild swimmers to hard-core mountain bikers. These voices have not been heard before.”

Barnard is clear that Sheffield provides the perfect base for putting together a book of this kind. “The team are a mix of climbers, walkers, mountain bikers, runners and general nature lovers. Being based in the outdoor city and with the Peak District on our doorstep, we are

immersed in a hub of like-minded people. We know how important the outdoors is to people, how big a part of people’s lives it is.”

Barnard hopes Waymaking will be a catalyst for the publication of more women’s voices in

the outdoor adventure genre. “We would like to see other women coming forward with their stories to share, perhaps in small part due to the ripple effect of Waymaking. We don’t have all women’s voices in this book, but we do have over fifty of them.

“We will also be publishing Fantastic Female Adventurers by Lily Dyu in 2019, a beautifully

illustrated children’s book that tells the stories of twelve fantastic female adventurers of our

time and times passed. Not to be missed.” All royalties from the sales of Waymaking will be split equally between the John Muir Trust and Rape Crisis, helping to conserve wild places and raise awareness for the problem of

sexual violence in our society and others. Waymaking is now available to pre-order.