Joe Simpson is the author of several bestselling books, of which the first, Touching the Void, won both the NCR Award and the Boardman Tasker Award. His later books include This Game of Ghosts, Storms of Silence, Dark Shadows Falling, The Beckoning Silence and two novels.
From his Q & A with Peter Leggatt at the Financial Times:
What book changed your life?--Marshal Zeringue
The White Spider [first published in 1959] by Heinrich Harrer. It is about the first ascent of the north face of the Eiger. It’s an odd book to call inspirational, as it’s a pretty grim list of deaths and not particularly well written. But it made me think that if someone’s prepared to go through that, there must be something fantastic about climbing.
* * *
Who would you most like to sit next to at a dinner party?
I have just read a whole series of books about Genghis Khan, and I was going to say him but it might be a bit bloody worrying actually. If he didn’t like the cut of your jib, you could be dead before the end of the first course.
* * *
Can you remember the first novel you read?
If anybody could say they remember their first novel, I suspect they’d be lying....[read on]