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The annual NZ Mountain Book Competition has recieved its highest ever number of submissions ahead of the NZ Mountain Film & Book Festival’s 20th anniversary.

Entries closed on March 31 for the book competition _ which was added to the Wanaka and Queenstown based festival in 2017.

Awards are offered across three categories including Mountain andAdventure Narrative, Mountain and Adventure Heritage, and the overall Nankervis/Bamford NZ Mountain Book of the Year which offers a $2000 prize.

Book competition coordinator Dan Clearwater said the calibre of entries was so high this year that the organisers added anew “highly commended” list.

“Only a handful of points separated the top 10 books in the pre-judging, so we wanted to
acknowledge the very high calibre of entries.

“Those books that just missed out on being finalists this year would have certainly been shortlist contenders in previous years’ competitions. It’s a wonderful example of the depth of NZ authors and publishers, and the way the industry is bouncing back strongly from Covid disruptions.”

Sarah Bennett, who has worked as an editor and publisher at Awa Press and Bridget Williams Books and joined judging panel for this year’s book competition, said Covid had affected the number of entries.

“In talking with booksellers and fellow publishers over the last year or so, it seems that the pandemic has boosted the market for books about New Zealand.

“To some extent this will be driven by New Zealanders being forced to stay home, slow down, and travel more widely and deeply around the motu [country].

“Perhaps this has made us appreciate Aotearoa more, and be more curious about our people and places, and about the incredible natural world that inspires us in so many different ways.”

Festival founder and director Mark Sedon, an experienced ski guide and mountaineer, would in a “normal” year travel backand forth from Lake Hawea, to Antarctica, India and Norway. Being unable to travel for two years meant that he had time to finish the book he
started writing five years ago.

What Could Possibly Go Wrong is Sedon’s account of his exploration, adventures and misadventures across the globe, from surviving avalanches, helicopter crashes and volcanic eruptions,to climbing Mt Everest, being starved and trapped in remote Papua and sailing the Southern Ocean.

Sedon will speak about his book at this year’s festival. Book competition category winners will be announced on June 7 with the grand prize winner announced on opening night June 24.

The festival will run from June 24-29 in Wanaka, before moving to Queenstown from June
30 and July 2.

It also runs online in New Zealand and Australia from June 24 to July 24.