There are SO many books out there — how’s a reader to choose? Well, literary competitions aren’t a bad place start, and if your looking for outdoor adventure reads, the annual Banff Festival offers up some good suggestions.

This year’s grand prize went to Freedom Climbers by Bernadette Mcdonald, a “passionate and literary tale of adventure, politics, suffering, death and ultimately, inspiration.”

The book chronicles the adventure of a group of Polish climbers, who emerged from under the blanket of oppression following World War II to become the world’s leading Himalayan climbers.

Other promising adventure reads among the winners:

Murder in the High Himalaya: Loyalty, Tragedy, and Escape from Tibet by Jonathan Green

“This is the unforgettable account of the brutal killing of Kelsang Namtso, a 17-year-old Tibetan nun fleeing to India, by Chinese border guards. Witnessed by dozens of Western climbers, Kelsang’s death sparked an international debate over China’s savage oppression of Tibet. Adventure reporter Jonathan Green has gained rare entrance into this shadow-land at the rooftop of the world.”

The Magnetic North: Notes from the Arctic Circle by Sara Wheeler

“Inspired by the spiraling shape of a reindeer-horn bangle, author Sara Wheeler travels counter clockwise around the North Pole, marking the transformations of what once seemed an unchangeable landscape. She smashes through the Arctic Ocean with the crew of a Russian icebreaker, shadows the endless Trans-Alaska Pipeline, herds reindeer with the Lapps, and visits the deceptively peaceful lands of the Gulag. The Magnetic North is a singular, deeply personal portrait of a region growing daily in global importance.”

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