Ebury has signed a memoir from poet and novelist Helen Mort which it says could do for climbing what other books have done for running and wild swimming.
Editor Clare Bullock acquired world rights from agent Matthew Turner at Rogers, Coleridge & White for A Line Above the Sky, due to be published in spring 2022.
The synopsis says: "As a child, Helen Mort was drawn to the thrill and risk of climbing, the tension between human and rockface, and the climber’s need to be hyperaware of the sensory world – to feel the texture of rock under their fingers, how their crampons bite into the ice, the subtle shifts in weather. But when she becomes a mother for the first time, she finds herself re-examining this most elemental of disciplines, and the way that we view women who put themselves in danger.
"Written by one of Britain’s most talented young writers, A Line Above the Sky melds memoir and nature writing to create what will surely become a classic of the genre; it asks why humans are compelled to climb and poses other, deeper questions about self, motherhood and freedom. It is a love letter to losing oneself in physicality, whether that in the risk of climbing a granite wall solo, without ropes, or the intensity of bringing a child into the world."
Mort’s 2013 poetry collection, Division Street was shortlisted for the T S Eliot Prize and Costa Poetry Award, and won the Fenton Aldeburgh First Collection Prize. She has been the Wordsworth Trust poet in residence and the Derbyshire Poet Laureate and was named one of the Royal Society of Literature’s 40 under 40 Fellows in 2018. Currently a lecturer in creative writing at Manchester Metropolitan University, her first novel, Black Car Burning, has been longlisted for the Dylan Thomas Prize.
She said: "I’m thrilled to be working with Ebury and with Clare Bullock as I explore the power of non-fiction. As a poet, I’ve always known we need the untold stories of women’s bodies, the ways they’re regulated and judged and to have this opportunity to bring together motherhood and mountains is very empowering and timely."
Bullock added: "This first foray into non-fiction marks the next step in what is already an outstanding career, drawing on Helen’s experience as a climber, and of becoming a mother for the first time. We are incredibly excited and proud to work with such a rare talent and to be publishing A Line Above the Sky at Ebury Press."