For adventurers Majka Burhardt and Maria Coffey, the decision to have or not to have children changed and revitalised their lives. In this frank and moving discussion, Majka and Maria join us on stage to share their decisions, the lifelong outcomes of that choice, what ‘freedom’ means to them and their personal experiences on the risks and rewards of choosing unconventional paths.
Majka Burhardt is one of the world’s leading female professional rock and ice climbers. When she learns that she’s pregnant—with twins—Burhardt becomes galvanized to do more instead of less. Her more involves not only maintaining her career as a professional climber, but also having a good marriage, re-parenting herself, and leading a growing international organization that's disrupting the way conservation is done alongside of motherhood. It also involves sharing the emotional maelstrom created by this confluence of passions and life choices in a series of letters to her children.
Maria Coffey has courted danger in some of the world’s most remote places. After two traumatic experiences during her twenties – a near-drowning in Morocco and her boyfriend’s death on Mount Everest – Maria determines to seize every day and explore the world. Mixed with her desire for freedom is a new fear of loss, which convinces her against parenthood. But there's one snag: she falls in love with someone who wants children and thinks they could include them in their wild exploits.
They’ll examine attitudes to women who take risks - no matter what path they have chosen - and what it means for anyone who steps off the beaten track into the unknown. The event will delve into the universal themes of choice and consequence, what it’s like to be a woman in such a male-dominated world and how a life of adventure can impact the decision on whether to have children.
Majka and Maria's books, More: Life on the Edge of Adventure and Motherhood and Instead: Navigating the Adventures of a Childfree Life, will be available to purchase at the Festival book store over the Festival weekend.
There will be a book signing straight after the event.
This event is sponsored by Patagonia
About The Speakers
Majka Burhardt - Majka Burhardt is a professional climber, conservation entrepreneur, author and filmmaker. She is the Founder and Executive Director of Legado and the author of Vertical Ethiopia: Climbing Toward Possibility in the Horn of Africa, which was short-listed for the Banff Book Award. Her work and projects have been featured in The Economist, Outside Magazine, The Weather Channel, NPR and more, and her articles have appeared in publications including Afar, Men’s Health, Skiing Magazine, Backpacker, Patagonia, Alpinist, Women’s Adventure, The Explorers Journal, and Climbing. Majka is a climber and ambassador with Patagonia, an American Mountain Guides Association Rock Guide and Ice Instructor.
Maria Coffey - Maria Coffey is the author of twelve internationally published, award winning books, the co-owner of an adventure travel company and an adventurer in her own right. Shortly after marrying Dag, Maria wrote her first book, Fragile Edge: Loss on Everest, an account of her relationship with Joe Tasker and her own journey to Everest in the wake of his death. Originally published in 1989, Fragile Edge became a classic in mountaineering literature and has won several prizes. Years later Maria wrote Where the Mountain Casts its Shadow: The Dark Side of Adventure, about the emotional toll of climbing, which won the Jon Whyte Literature Prize at the 2003 Banff Festival and a 2004 National Outdoor Book Award.