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Banff Mountain Book Competition announces 2018 Grand Prize Winner

By Jess Green Posted on November 05, 2018

BANFF, AB, November 1, 2018 – Banff Centre Mountain Film and Book Festival is pleased to announce The Eight Mountains as Grand Prize winner of the 2018 Banff Mountain Book Competition.

Italian writer Paolo Cognetti sets his debut novel in the foothills of Italy’s Monte Rosa and weaves a captivating story of our relationship to mountains.

His novel reads like a memoir full of contemplation, and ultimately reflects on our place in the world measured by the peaks and valleys of our lives and the mountains that pull us in. “In certain lives there are mountains to which we may never return,” says the main character Pietro Guasti. Mountains shape his entire life and his relationships, especially Pietro’s understanding of his father’s pursuit of the most difficult parts of the mountains.

Chosen from the best writing in mountain and adventure literature, adventure travel, mountain fiction, mountain image, mountaineering articles, mountain environment and natural history, mountaineering history, and guidebooks – 145 book submissions from authors in 14 countries were honed down to a longlist of 27 finalists and from that list our 2018 jury determined category award winners.

Beautifully crafted in subtle, lyrical prose, The Eight Mountains is at once an old-fashioned coming-of-age tale and a beautiful meditation on the many ways the wild wounds and heals us, said jury member Paula Wright. “Sparse in detail but resonating with poetic energy, Paolo Cognetti’s prose glimmers like the surface of a mountain, where even the smallest ripples and fissures may reveal enormous depths.”

The 2018 Book Competition jury members are Ian Welsted (CAN, climber, Piolet d’Or winner, writer), Paula Wright (USA, writer, Associate Editor at Alpinist Magazine, doctoral candidate at University of Oregon), and Larry Stanier (CAN, mountain guide and voracious mountain literature reader).

Paolo Cognetti receives $4000 in prize money from Banff Mountain Book Competition for The Phyllis and Don Munday Award Grand Prize.

The 2018 Banff Mountain Book Competition Award winners include:

The Phyllis and Don Munday Award - Grand Prize
$4000 – Sponsored by the Alpine Club of Canada
The Eight Mountains
Paolo Cognetti, Penguin Random House – Vintage (UK, 2018)

Category Award Winners

Adventure Travel
$2000 - Sponsored by Fjällräven
Lands of Lost Borders: Out of Bounds on the Silk Road
Kate Harris, Penguin Random House Canada (Canada, 2018)

Mountain Fiction & Poetry
$2000 – Sponsored by Grimms Fine Foods
The Eight Mountains
Paolo Cognetti, Penguin Random House – Vintage (UK, 2018)

Mountain Literature (non-fiction) – The Jon Whyte Award
$2000 - Sponsored by the Whyte Museum of the Canadian Rockies
Tides: a climber’s voyage
Nick Bullock, Vertebrate Publishing (UK, 2018)

Mountain Environment and Natural History
$2000 – Sponsored by Town of Banff
The Wolf: A True Story of Survival and Obsession in the West
Nate Blakeslee, Penguin Random House Canada (Canada, 2017)

Mountain Image
$2000 – Sponsored by Lake O’Hara Lodge
The Canadian Rockies: Rediscovered
Paul Zizka, Rocky Mountain Books (Canada, 2017)

$2000 – Sponsored by the Association of Canadian Mountain Guides
Squamish Rockclimbs
Kevin McLane and Andrew Boyd, High Col Press (Canada, 2018)

Mountaineering Article
$2000 – Sponsored by the University of Alberta and the Alpine Club of Canada
Alison Criscitiello, Alpinist Magazine (USA, August 2017)

Mountaineering History
$2000 – Sponsored by Rab
Honouring High Places: The Mountain Life of Junko Tabei
Junko Tabei and Helen Rolfe, Rocky Mountain Books (Canada, 2017)

Special Jury Mentions:
Atlas of a Lost World
Craig Childs, Pantheon Books (USA, 2018)

Bert Riggall’s Greater Waterton: A Conservation Legacy
Beth Russell-Towe, Fifth House Publishers (Canada, 2018)

For more information on the 2018 Banff Centre Mountain Film and Book Festival, please visit

About Banff Centre Mountain Film and Book Festival: Created 43 years ago, Banff Centre Mountain Film and Book Festival has become the premier event of its kind in the world. The nine-day Festival hosted by Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity in Banff, Canada, showcases the world’s best films, books and photographs on mountain subjects – climbing, culture, environment and natural history, exploration and adventure, wildlife, and sport – and attracts the biggest names in mountaineering, adventure filmmaking, and explorers as presenters and speakers. An international jury will also award over $40,000 in prizes for films and books submitted to this year’s Festival competitions.

About Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity: Founded in 1933, Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity is a learning organization built upon an extraordinary legacy of excellence in artistic and creative development. What started as a single course in drama has grown to become the global organization leading in arts, culture, and creativity across dozens of disciplines. From our home on Treaty 7 territory in the stunning Canadian Rocky Mountains, Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity aims to inspire everyone who attends our campus – artists, leaders, and thinkers – to unleash their creative potential and realize their unique contribution to society through cross-disciplinary learning opportunities, world-class performances, and public outreach. In 2018, Banff Centre celebrates 85 years of creative practice.