McDonald was announced as the winner of the £3,000 prize at the Kendal Mountain Festival on Friday evening.
Vertebrate Publishing books have won the Boardman Tasker Award on three prior occasions with The Bond by Simon McCartney scooping last year’s award, Cold Wars by Andy Kirkpatrick winning in 2012 and Rock Athlete by Ron Fawcett and Ed Douglas taking the prize in 2010.
Art of Freedom was described by Helen Mort, chair of the award judges, as, ‘A profound and subtle profile of one of the international climbing world’s most complex mountaineers. We felt the writing was meticulously crafted and that the book makes extreme mountaineering accessible to the lay reader.’
Beginning life as a graphic design agency in 1994, Vertebrate has now published over 200 books in both print and digital formats, and is one of the world’s leading publishers of outdoor titles.
Following the award announcement, Vertebrate’s managing director Jon Barton commented, ‘I’m thrilled by the news of Bernadette’s award, which is a reward for both her hard work, and the work of our small team here in Sheffield. We’re committed to seeking out and publishing the best mountain literature titles and I hope our books inspire people to explore the hills and mountains outside their own front doors.’
Vertebrate Publishing titles made up three of the six books shortlisted for the 2017 prize with The Magician’s Glass by Sheffield author Ed Douglas and Days to Remember by Rob Collister also selected from a total of thirty-five submissions.