Bernadette McDonald had a nearly 20-year career as the head of the Banff Mountain Festivals before turning to writing full time in 2006. Her books have received top accolades, including being shortlisted for Boardman-Tasker Prize (Brotherhood of the Rope), receiving the ITAS prize for mountain literature and receiving the Kekoo Naoroji Award for mountain literature (both Brotherhood and her biography of Tomaz Humar). Other awards include the King Albert award from Switzerland, the Summit of Excellence Award, the Alberta Order of Excellence and being named an honorary member of the Himalaya Club of India. McDonald's newest book Freedom Climbers (Rocky Mountain Books, 2011) documents the history of a group of extraordinary Polish adventurers who emerged from under the blanket of oppression following the Second World War to become the worlds’ leading Himalayan climbers. Freedom Climbers has won three top prizes: Boardman Tasker Prize in the UK, Grand Prize at Banff Mountain Book Festival and American Alpine Club Literary award.