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Top NZ adventure writers recognised

The book Caves - Exploring New Zealand’s subterranean wilderness won the top prize

The winners of the NZ Mountain Film and Book Festival book awards have been announced ahead of the festival, which kicks of in Wanaka on Friday, June 29.

The grand prize went to Neil Silverwood and Marcus Thomas for the book Caves – Exploring New Zealand’s subterranean wilderness. The book takes readers into New Zealand’s longest and deepest caves, and is illustrated with Silverwood’s spectacular photography. The pair explore the world’s most dangerous cave dives as well as prospecting for a totally new kind of cave on a South Island glacier.

Caves was also recently awarded the Union International Speleology’s Best Caves Book award.

Wanaka’s Annabel Wilson has won the fiction award for her Aspiring Daybook: The diary of Elsie Winslow. The poetry book chronicles a year in the life of a character called Elsie Winslow, who return to Wanaka from Europe to take care of her terminally ill brother.

Wilson will be reading from her book in the Words and Wine event at the festival on Sunday, July 1.

The non-fiction award went to Laurence Fearnley and Paul Hersey for their book To the Mountains. The book offers a glimpse into New Zealand’s mountaineering culture and history, featuring letters, articles, memoirs, poems and novels from NZ climbers. Fearnley and Hersey drew from 150 years of published and unpublished material to produce the book.

Both authors will share some of the stories within, and talk about the journey compiling it, when the book is launched at the festival on Tuesday, July 3.

Christopher Tuffley won the essay category for the second time, with his entry Climbing Lessons. The essay describes his experiences climbing in Yosemite and explores the common bond formed between two people who share opposite ends of a rope, and opposite opinions about the world.

The essay will be published at wildernessmag.co.nz.

The festival features features 82 films, including 10 world premieres and 37 New Zealand premiers. The event will be held in Wanaka from June 29 to July 4, Cromwell on July 4 and Queenstown from July 5 to 7.

For more information, visit mountainfilm.nz