Author Tanis Rideout kicks off this year’s festival with some beautiful readings from her novel “Above All Things”. She reminisced to the crowed about the way that she became completely consumed with George Mallory’s life and his exhibitions up Mount Everest. These interests lead her to write the novel about his failed attempt to ascend Mount Everest. Her seven year journey writing the novel lead her everywhere from archives containing letters between George and his partner Ruth in Cambridge to digging up newspapers detailing climbing news from that time. Rideout wants to believe that he made it to the summit as a photo of Ruth was not found on his body and he had promised to leave her photo there but there is no evidence to confirm that.
Through a slide show of photos she takes the audience through the route that George took ending with the location of his body found approximately 90 years after his failed exhibition. She recounts the moment that brought her to the edge of tears was when she was passed the papers that were found on George’s body and it clicked that she was writing about real people. Finally, she hints at a new project she is starting that may be set in the current day.
– Tanis Rideout with a photo of Mount Everest behind her as she talks about the writing of the novel “Above All Things”