The first of Wales Arts Review‘s Murenger Social live evenings saw acclaimed author Dan Richards speak with elegance, wit and passion about his new book.
In Climbing Days, Dan Richards is on the trail of his great-great-aunt, Dorothy Pilley, a prominent and pioneering mountaineer of the early twentieth century. For years, Dorothy and her husband, I. A. Richards, remained mysterious to Dan, but the chance discovery of her 1935 memoir, Climbing Days, leads him on a journey. Perhaps, in the mountains, he can meet them halfway?
Following in the pair’s footholds, Dan begins to travel and climb across Europe, using Dorothy’s book as a guide. Learning the ropes in Wales and Scotland, scrambling in the Lake District, scaling summits in Spain and Switzerland, he closes in on the serrate pinnacle of Ivor and Dorothy’s climbing lives, the mighty Dent Blanche in the high Alps of Valais.
What emerges is a beautiful portrait of a trailblazing woman, up to now lost to history – but also a book about that eternal question: why do people climb mountains?
Dan Richards was born in Wales in 1982 and he grew up in Bristol. He has studied at UEA and Norwich Arts School. Dan is co-author of Holloway with Robert Macfarlane and Stanley Donwood, published by Faber in 2013. The Beechwood Airship Interviews, a book about the creative process and the importance of art for art’s sake, was published by The Friday Project/HarperCollins in Summer 2015.
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