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Books of the 2021 competition

Jean-Luc Coatalem president of the jury of the Golden Fleece of Adventure Book 2021
19 July 2021
The jurys of the book 2021
28 July 2021

Six books

selected to compete for the Golden Fleece of Adventure Book 2021.

L’année des deux dames

The year of the two ladies
from Catherine Faye and Marine Sanclemente
Ed.: Paulsen
Collection: Démarches (Steps)
Publication: 17 September 2020

Two journalists set out in the footsteps of two atypical and avant-garde women explorers, who set out alone into the Sahara desert almost a century ago to meet the Mauritanian people. One, a stylist for Jeanne Lanvin and then a reporter, was a candidate for a Charcot expedition to Greenland. The other was in turn a model, journalist and designer. They were daring and avant-garde. In December 1933, to escape a patriarchal society, Odette du Puigaudeau and Marion Sénones boarded a Breton lobster boat bound for Mauritania. Their goal? To cross the desert on camelback, without any official mission or subsidy. The image is so unusual that the Moors called the year of their first steps in these lands the "Year of the Two Ladies". Nearly a century later, Catherine Faye and Marine Sanclemente follow in the footsteps of the two adventurers to tell the story of their life on the margins, their nerve, their contradictions, and to explore this country, a link between the Maghreb and sub-Saharan Africa, where a thousand-year-old nomadic culture persists. In often arduous conditions, through surprising encounters, their journey is marked by the reckless spirit of the two explorers.

Catherine Faye is a freelance journalist and author. She spent her childhood abroad, notably in Argentina and Egypt. Guided by atypical journeys, in 2018 she published her first novel, L'Attrape-souci (The worry catcher - Ed. Fayard/Mazarine).
Marine Sanclemente is a journalist at Figaro. She is driven by the discovery of little-known territories and marginal populations.
Thirty years separate them. Literature, travel, individual and collective histories, connect them.

Editions: Paulsen

L’appel du volcan

The call of the volcano
From Claude Marthaler
Ed.: Salamandre
Collection: Marcher avec (Walking with)
Publication: 14 April 2021

Claude Marthaler is an adventurous writer who has travelled to all latitudes by force of arms, from a seven-year world tour by bicycle to climbing the highest volcano on the planet on foot. With his assertive pen, he shares with us his inner fire that leads him to get back in the saddle again and again. In the course of the chapters, he reveals the intimate and secret reasons that pushed him on the paths of this chosen wandering, in particular a paragliding accident that forced him to start again from a blank page to rewrite his life. Thousands of meters of altitude difference and bivouacs on the edge of the world allowed him, by losing himself, to find himself and to give a meaning to life - to his life. Learning to accept uncertainty is the most beautiful lesson delivered by this journey composed of itineraries, landscapes and encounters as improbable as they are magnificent.

Claude Marthaler is the author of a dozen books including Voyages sellestes (sellestes trips - Ed. Glénat, 2020), Zen ou l'art de pédaler (Zen or the art of pedalling - Ed. Olizane, 2017), L'Insoutenable légèreté de la bicyclette (The Unbearable Lightness of the Bicycle - Ed. Olizane, 2012), or À tire-d'elles. Femmes, vélo et liberté (On the move. Women, cycling and freedom - Ed. Slatkine, 2016). In addition to a seven-year world tour by bicycle, he has also linked the North Cape to Istanbul, Africa to Asia, criss-crossed Central Asia, the Rocky Mountains, the Andes, Morocco, Cuba and travelled several times through the Himalayas, attempting to climb one of its highest peaks, Cho-Oyu.

Editions: Salamandre

Le chemin des estives

The path of the summer pastures
From Charles Wright
Ed.: Flammarion
Publication: 27 January 2021

"Everywhere there was too much noise, too much talk. One day, I got fed up with this frenzy and left. Some people go to Alaska or Siberia in search of happiness, but I am an adventurer of the French canton: I look at Aubusson, Puy Mary and the Millevaches plateau..."
Without a penny in his pocket, relying on people's generosity, a young Jesuit aspirant escapes from the city and modernity with the desire to reconnect with the basics. He offers himself a truant trip through the deserts of the Massif Central. A short seven hundred kilometre walk. Le chemin des estives, the story of this journey, is an ode to desertion, to freedom, to spiritual adventure. We come across the figures of Rimbaud and Charles de Foucauld, but also people of character, volcanoes and cows. As the pages turn, a certainty emerges: happiness is within reach, you just have to trust and open your eyes.

Historian by training, Charles Wright has been a minister's pen, an editor, a journalist, before becoming a novice in a Cistercian monastery. A writer and journalist, his publications include A quoi servent les moines ? (What are monks for? - Ed. François Bourin, 2011) and Casanova ou l'essence des Lumières (Casanova or the essence of the Enlightenment - Ed. Bernard Giovanangeli, 2008, Prix Guizot de l'Académie française), as well as Le chemin du cœur (The way to the heart - Ed. Salvator, 2017), the first major biography of Dom André Louf, an eminent twentieth-century spiritual master.

Éditions : Flammarion

Le Continent blanc

51 jours seul en Antarctique

The White Continent, 51 days alone in Antarctica
From Matthieu Tordeur
Ed.: Robert Laffont
Publication: 5 November 2020

"I look out at the vastness in front of me and am seized by the thought: I am going to be alone in the middle of this gigantic desert for the next seven weeks. It's dizzying. It takes me by storm."
On 24 November 2018, Matthieu Tordeur began a fifty-one day journey to Antarctica. Hostile and uninhabited, the white continent will give itself up to him at the cost of inestimable efforts, accomplished in the greatest solitude. In this account, the adventurer recounts his moments of anguish and doubt, but also of astonishment and grace. He even reveals his true path: from the South Pole to the "inner pole", or how, in order to survive, he became a "polar".

Matthieu Tordeur is a lecturer, author and filmmaker. In 2019, he became the youngest explorer in the world and the first Frenchman to reach the South Pole on skis, alone and without supplies. His adventures and expeditions have taken him to more than 90 countries: crossing Greenland on ski-kite, crossing the Sahara from Cairo to Khartoum on an electric bike, Karakoram Highway by bike, Marathon des Sables, kayaking down the Seine, Pyongyang Marathon in North Korea, Transcontinental Race, round-the-world tour in a 4L to promote microfinance.

Editions: Robert Laffont

Loin de la terre surgit le monde

Face à l’océan comme à soi-même

Far from the earth the world arises, Facing the ocean as oneself
From Fabrice Amedeo
Ed.: Plon 
Coll.: Récit (Story)
Publication: 15 October 2020

On the eve of casting off for a second Vendée Globe, the non-stop single-handed round-the-world race - an Everest for a sailor - Fabrice Amedeo gives us a strong literary testimony on this connection to the world that ocean travel allows, far from the land and inhabited areas. The open sea offers the possibility of rediscovering the rhythm of the cosmos, of experiencing a new relationship with time, a different way of thinking and, above all, the ability to bring the inner world into dialogue with the outer world, which our contemporary societies too often hide from us. The aesthetic experience and the adventure also allow for a personal and original reflection on solitude, freedom, and the rediscovered relationship with Being.
Far from being a race story, this book could have been written in a desert or in the high mountains. It attempts to share the unspeakable experiences of a man alone with himself, with his challenges and with nature.

Sailor and journalist, Fabrice Amedeo has crossed the Atlantic fifteen times and completed a solo round-the-world race, the Vendée Globe. A graduate in philosophy and Sciences-Po, he has always cultivated a taste for writing and sharing his offshore adventures. He was a journalist at Figaro from 2003 to 2015. This is his ninth book. Among his other books, several are devoted to ocean racing. He has also published an investigative book on Air France, a series of interviews with Jacqueline de Romilly and an essay on European identity.

Édition : Arthaud

Par la force des arbres

By the power of the trees
From Édouard Cortès
Ed.: Équateurs 
Publication: 21 October 2020

After a thunderbolt of destiny, Édouard Cortès chooses to take refuge in the top of an oak tree, to get some perspective on his life and our frantic times. At almost 40, he embraces his wife and children, deletes his social network accounts and goes deep into a forest in the Périgord for a still journey. There, in a hut built by his own hands, he fulfils his childhood dream: to get away, to break with his chains, to transform himself with the oak, to drink from the sap of the branches. This springtime in the altitude and silence of the woods offers him a reading of nature that cannot be found in any guidebook or encyclopedia. The oak, so quiet, houses a cabinet of curiosities and allows the perched man to reverie under the trees and the stars for three months. Sometimes you have to contemplate a colony of ants savouring the honeydew, listen to a jay or a pair of blue tits, observe mushrooms and lichens with a magnifying glass to understand the tragedy and poetry of our humanity. In order to reconnect with enchantment and clarity, the tree-man must cut off certain branches, lighten up and allow himself to be crossed by wild life with the stoicism of the oak.

Writer and traveller, Édouard Cortès has led several expeditions, including a crossing of the Caucasus on foot, a journey along the Silk Roads in Afghanistan and a trip in a 2CV from France to Vietnam. In 1999, he linked Rocamadour to Compostela. In 2007, he made the Jerusalem pilgrimage with his wife as a honeymoon trip: 5000 km from Paris. In 2012, he walked with his family, with a cart and a donkey, from Puy-en-Velay to Rome.
He is the author of several stories including Paris - Saigon (Ed. Presses de la Renaissance, 2005), Ararat. Sur la piste de l'arche de Noé (Ararat. On the trail of Noah's Ark - Ed. Presses de la Renaissance, 2007), Un chemin de promesses (A Path of Promise - Ed. XO, 2008), En chemin vers Rome (On the way to Rome - Ed. XO, 2013).

Éditions : Équateurs