Art of Freedom Bernadette McDonald & Chopin Theatre Productions

Mon, 3/26/18 7pm to 10pm - Enjoy a talk with award-winning author, Bernadette McDonald on one of the international climbing world's most respected, complicated and reclusive mountaineers, Voytek Kurtyka. 

Afterwards stay for JUREK, a film chronicling the life of Jerzy Kukuczka considered among the world's best mountain climbers (85 mins. In Polish with English subtitles).

The night ends with a complimentary reception, cash bar and book signing.

Tickets $10/ea

03/26/18 - 03/26/18


Art of Freedom: The Life and Climbs of Voytek Kurtyka

Winner of the 2017 Banff Mountain Book Award for Mountain Literature (Non Fiction)
Winner of the 2017 Boardman Tasker Prize for Mountain Literature
Winner of the National Outdoor Book Awards

Voytek Kurtyka remains one of the greatest alpinists of all time. Born in 1947, he was one of the leading lights of the Polish golden age of Himalayan climbing. His visionary approachto climbing resulted in many renowned ascents, such as the complete Broad Peak traverse, the "night naked" speed climbs of Cho Oyu and Shishapangma and, above all, the alpine-style ascent of the West Face of Gasherbrum IV. Dubbed the "climb of the century," his route on G IV, as of 2016, has yet to be repeated.

His most frequent climbing partners were alpine legends of their time: Polish Himalayan climber Jerzy Kukuczka, Swiss mountain guide Erhard Loretan and British alpinist Alex MacIntyre.

After repeated requests to accept the Piolet d'Or lifetime achievement award (the Academy Award of the climbing world), Kurtyka finally accepted the honour in the spring of 2016. A fiercely private individual, he continues to decline countless invitations for interviews, lectures and festival appearances, but has agreed to co-operate with internationally renowned and award winning Canadian author Bernadette McDonald on this long-awaited biography.



Bernadette McDonald

"I was born in Saskatchewan and grew up on a farm. My childhood, and most of my education, was focused on music. I practised constantly, and studied music history and theory. I was well on my way as a contemporary music specialist when life took a sharp turn.

Volunteering for the Banff Mountain Film Festival eventually led to a new career. For twenty years I worked at The Banff Centre, directing the Banff Mountain Festivals and starting a new division - Mountain Culture at The Banff Centre.

During the last few years of my work with Mountain Culture, I began to get involved with book projects, first as an editor, and then as an author. That led to the next life turn, although not quite as sharp. I resigned from my position as Vice President in 2006 to write full time. My greatest, but not only, area of interest is mountains: mountaineering, history, culture and environment. I love everything about the entire writing process, even the deadlines! I have so many ideas for books that I'll never live long enough to write them all.

I also lecture and consult on mountain cultural issues. I've worked with start-up festivals and mountain institutes. I have lectured on a variety of mountain topics for universities, festivals and alpine clubs and I have curated many mountain-related exhibitions.

Coming from the flat expanse of the Prairies, my focus on mountains may seem a bit strange. But from my first mountain experience I knew that I had found the landscape and the community that resonated for me".


Jerzy Kukuczka

Jerzy Kukuczka (24 March 1948 in Katowice, Poland - 24 October 1989 Lhotse, Nepal) was a Polish alpine and high-altitude climber. Born in Katowice, his family origin is Goral. On 18 September 1987, he became the second man (after Reinhold Messner), to climb all fourteen eight-thousanders in the world, it took him less than 8 years. He is the only person in the world who has climbed two eight-thousanders in one winter. He ascended four eight-thousanders in the winter altogether, including three in winter as first. Along with Tadeusz Piotrowski, Kukuczka established a new route on K2 in alpine style (the so-called "Polish Line"), which no one has ever repeated. (





Bernadette McDonald

Tags: Literary, Polish, , 2018