Book Fringe : Dan Richards – from Climbing Days to Outposts

Book Fringe
Tuesday 22nd August, 1pm start
FREE, no booking required

Dan Richards, artist, writer and climber, comes to the Lighthouse to talk about his current project Outpost and his last Climbing Days.

Dan’s first book, Hollowaywas written in collaboration with Robert Macfarlane and Radiohead artist, Stanley Donwood. The Beechwood Airship Interviews, his second, was an investigation of artists and their creative workspaces and stemmed from his building a 6-metre-long airship from wood whilst at Art School.

Last year Faber published Climbing Days, an investigation of the writing and climbing lives of my pioneering great-great-aunt and uncle, Dorothy Pilley and I.A. Richards. After discovering Dorothy’s 1935 memoir, Dan began a journey, following in her footsteps and handholds, he travelled and climbed across Europe, using Dorothy’s book as a guide. Having learnt the ropes in Wales and Scotland, he scrambled in the Lake District and topped summits in Spain and Switzerland, ending with an ascent of the severe serrate pinnacle of Ivor and Dorothy’s climbing lives, the mighty Dent Blanche in the high Alps of Valais.

Climbing Days was specially commended as a Wanderlust Adventure Travel Book of the Year at The Edward Stanford Travel Writing Awards 2016.

Outpost, Dan’s fourth book, is set to be published by Canongate in Spring 2019. He’s currently travelling around the outer reaches of the world to write it — researching and exploring unique cabins, huts and shelters, examining their different natures and purposes — way-stations, bunkers, beacons, and spartan spaces.

As Barry Lopez, author of Arctic Dreams, wrote of his time spent in some of the planet’s least civilised scapes; Such places offer a kind of illumination that can take the darkness out of contemporary life … I remember the extended pleasure I felt as a temporary resident in those places, the hours of mental clarity and exuberance.’

If the question at the heart of Climbing Days was ‘why climb mountains?’ Outpost will seek to answer the question of what draws people to wilderness? What can the spartan expedient architecture of such places tell us about the human condition? What compels us to go to the ends of the earth, and what future do such places have?