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Film  ·  Events  ·  Culture  ·  People  ·  15-18 Nov 2018

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Saturday 18th Nov 17.30 - 19.00 Brewery Arts Centre - Malt Room Buy Tickets

Imaginary Mountains - Why Mountains Capture Our Minds

A lively discussion lead by Panorama editor Amy GiGi Alexander, taking in the imaginary mountains and experiences of an eminent panel including Helen Mort; BT Judge and renowned poet, Nahida Esmail; Tanzanian writer of mountain fiction and Ed Douglas, Guardian journalist and 2017 BT shortlisted author.

About the event:

'Imaginary Mountains - Why Mountains Capture Our Minds' will be a lively, fun, and informative talk for all ages, and all guests. 

Imagination is such an integral part of our experience in the outdoor; throughout time we have used wilderness to find inspiration and answers. In this session Amy Gigi Alexander will look at how the created mythology around mountains informs our understanding of them, and how a cycle of inspiration continues as we create our own ‘Imaginary Mountains’; spaces for mental exploration!

In her key note, she will take us on a journey though mountain stories; from the Mountains of the Moon, the fictional peaks that are supposed to mark the source of the Nile in Uganda, to the mythical beast of Everest. Come and feast your minds-eye on the sublime for a renewed understanding of the way we look at and create mountains.

The panel will look at fictional mountains, the way writers have used the motif of a peak in different ways; as both impassable and dangerous; spiritual refuge and holy, and the byways of trade routes. Today, mountain fiction is a growing and exciting part of mountain literature, and has expanded beyond the genre. It can be about connecting with nature more fully; pushing oneself to visualised limits or heights; or even, simply moving through a landscape with mountains as a narrator. Our exciting and diverse panel will bring their own unique writing and mountain experience to the conversation.

Whether you are an outdoor enthusiasts or not: you will come away understanding more about why mountains capture our minds--and our passion--and hopefully, look at them in a renewed way.

The panel:


Amy Gigi Alexander is a writer, editor, publisher, and geocultural explorer with an emphasis on travel writing, landscapes imagined and real, memoir, and lyrical magical realism paired with psychogeography. She is the Editor- in-Chief of the British literary journal with a modern approach to travel literature, Panorama: the Journal of Intelligent Travel, and has taught travel and landscape writing around the world, most recently in Rwanda, Uganda, Tanzania, and Kenya.


Known for her love of mountains and taking her young kids on extreme adventures, Leslie Hsu Oh is a writer whose work has been named among the distinguished stories of the year by Best American Essays. She is a Champion of Change for the White House in AAPI Storytelling and Art, a Schweitzer Fellow, and the Outdoor Editor for Panorama: The Journal of Intelligent Travel. Leslie has a Masters degree from Harvard, a MFA from the University of Alaska, and has taught creative writing for over a decade.


Tanzanian writer Nahida Esmail discovered her love for mountains and the outdoors right in her own backyard: climbing Mount Kilimanjaro.
She’s written several books of fiction for young adults based on climbing, including Aiming for the Summit, which won the coveted BURT award for fiction in Africa in 2017. Besides publishing books for young adults, Nahida also writes for various publications on the African continent and participates in cycling and climbing events worldwide.


Ed Douglas is an award-winning journalist and author of ten books about mountains and their people, including the first full-length biography of Tenzing Norgay. He covered the Nepali civil war for The Observer and National Geographic, has interviewed the Dalai Lama for The Guardian and made over forty visits to the Himalaya. He is the editor of the Alpine Journal and is currently working on a book about landscape, history and imagination, focused on Kinder Scout near his home in Sheffield.


Helen Mort is a poet, runner and climber based in Sheffield. Her first collection ‘Division Street’ was published in 2013 and her next collection ‘No Map Could Show Them’, a book partly inspired by the history of women’s mountaineering was published in summer 2016. A former Poet in Residence at The Wordsworth Trust, Helen is a five-times winner of the Foyle Young Poets award, received an Eric Gregory Award in 2007 and won the Manchester Young Writers Prize in 2008. 



Amy Gigi Alexander Amy Gigi Alexander

Amy is a writer, artist and geocultral explorer.

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Ed Douglas Ed Douglas

Ed is a writer and journalist with a passion for the wilder corners of the natural world. He is an enthusiastic amateur climber and mountain traveller, with a particular interest in the Himalaya.

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Helen Mort Helen Mort

Helen Mort is an award winning British poet.

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Leslie Hsu Oh Leslie Hsu Oh

Leslie is an award winning writer and photographer.

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Nahida Esmail Nahida Esmail

Nahida is an award winning author and climber.

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