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Tale of Everest and adventure, war and risk wins 2012 Samuel Johnson Prize for Non-Fiction

Tale of Everest and adventure, war and risk wins 2012 Samuel Johnson Prize for Non-Fiction

Wade Davis
Into the Silence
Samuel Johnson Winner 2012
  • National Geographic Society Explorer-in-Residence wins UK’s leading non-fiction prize
  • Winner Wade Davis tells story of fellow explorer George Mallory 90 years after the first British attempt to conquer Everest 
  • Adventurer Wade Davis flies in from New York for announcement of £20,000 prize

National Geographic Society Explorer-in-Residence Wade Davis was tonight (12 November), named winner of the £20,000 Samuel Johnson Prize for Non-Fiction for his book Into the Silence: The Great War, Mallory and the Conquest of Everest, published by The Bodley Head.

Into the Silence: The Great War, Mallory and the Conquest of Everest is a major work of history and adventure. The result of ten years’ research and writing, the book sheds new light on Mallory’s expeditions to scale Everest, against the backdrop of the impact of the Great War and British Imperialism, and giving a detailed insight in to the explorers’ world.

Chair of the judges, the Rt Hon David Willetts MP, commented:

‘We are thrilled to present Wade Davis with the Samuel Johnson Prize for Non-Fiction 2012 for his momentous book Into the Silence.

‘This fascinating historical narrative of a great adventure manages to shed new light on events and stories we thought we already knew. It’s an exciting story of human endeavour imbued with deep historical significance. Wade’s scrupulous use of sources and attention to detail, combined with his storytelling skills and ability to enters into the minds of the people he is writing about, make this a thoroughly enlightening and enjoyable book.

‘This year’s shortlist was very strong, making Wade’s win all the more significant.’

Canadian Wade Davis is an Explorer-in-Residence at the National Geographic Society and the author of 15 books including The Serpent and the Rainbow, One River, and The Wayfinders. His many film credits include Light at the Edge of the World, an eight-hour documentary series produced for the National Geographic Channel.

The winner was announced by David Willetts MP, Minister for Universities and Science, at a ceremony at the Royal Institute of British Architects. David’s fellow judges were writer and biographer Patrick French; Paul Laity, non-fiction books editor, The Guardian; Bronwen Maddox, editor, Prospect magazine; and philosopher, poet, physician and cultural critic Professor Raymond Tallis.

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