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Author and filmmaker Jennifer Jordan, seen her backcountry skiing at Alta, will be the keynote speaker for the this year's Friends of the Park City Library annual Author Luncheon. Jordan will speak about her 2010 best-selling book, "Last Man on the Mountain: The Death of an American Adventurer on K2." (Courtesy of Jeff Rhodes)
Every year the Friends of the Park City Library, a nonprofit organization that helps raise money to maintain the library, shows its appreciation to its members with an author luncheon.

Members and guests receive a gourmet buffet dinner catered by Deer Valley's Silver Lake Lodge, beverages and a chance to hear a keynote speech by a locally based author.

In the past, speakers have included Judy Blount, author of "Breaking Clean: A Memoir," Salt Lake Tribune columnist Robert Kirby, "Escape" author Carolyn Jessup and Rick Bragg, the author of "All Over but the Shoutin'."

Last year's speech was given by Utah Symphony associate concertmaster Gerald Elias, the writer of such mysteries as "The Devil's Trill" and "Death and Transfiguration."

"Not only did he speak about his book, he also played his violin," said Friends of the Park City Library co-president Marlene Peacock. "That was something special."

The speaker for this year's luncheon, which will be held on Thursday, Oct. 10, will be Salt Lake City-based writer and filmmaker Jennifer Jordan, author of "Last Man on the Mountain: The Death of an American Adventurer on K2."

"The Last Man on the Mountain" won a 2010 National Outdoor Book Award for history/biography and was listed as a Best Seller in Sports books in the Wall Street Journal.

The nonfiction book is about the fateful 1939 K2 expedition that resulted in the death of American mountaineer Dudley Wolfe and three Sherpa Guides.

K2, located on the border of Pakistan and China, is the second largest mountain in the world, next to Mount Everest.

Unlike other books about the topic, Jordan's book doesn't condemn Wolfe, whose remains she discovered on K2 in 2002, but, instead, tells his story.

"As a journalist, I always questioned history and those who write it," said Jordan during a phone call from Pakistan where she is filming a yet-to-be-announced documentary. "Nothing is infallible and history is usually written by men and women who often have agendas.

"I got into the history of K2 and Dudley Wolf and realized that the history of the 1939 expedition of K2 was written by the victors and survivors," she said. "Dudley, having perished on the expedition, became the victim of their failures."

In her research, Jordan was amazed to see through journals and letters just how maligned Wolfe had become.

"Those who survived needed someone to blame for all the failure and Dudley became the scapegoat," she said.

The book is Jordan's way of telling the world and the mountaineering community that they shouldn't be so quick to judge someone like Dudley, who doesn't have the means to defend himself.

"It was also gratifying to me to tell his family the story, because they always thought he was the catalyst of the disaster that came to the expedition," she said.

Peacock said there was no question about having Jordan speak during the luncheon.

"She's from Salt Lake City and she has this connection with mountaineering, which fits right with our mountain town, and she wrote a book about the outdoors and felt that would be a great draw in Park City," Peacock said. "We start looking for an author for the luncheon in January and we usually strive to get someone from Utah.

"Now, that doesn't mean we always look for someone who lives in this area, it just means we lean towards speakers from Utah," she said. "We like that bent and think it means more to our members to have that connection."

Jordan said she will speak as briefly as possible and open the rest of the time to questions.

"I have found that the questions are often better than my comments," she said with a laugh. "One of the joys of being a writer is sharing thoughts and experiences about writing with local book clubs and gatherings. So, to come up to Park City and talk with the good Friends of the Library will be a great opportunity."

Peacock said she looks forward to these luncheons because the Friends of the Park City Library don't have the opportunity to meet weekly or even monthly.

"We don't have a lot of interaction with our members and that's why we want to make it special," Peacock said. "The goal of the luncheon is to offer them something that is interesting for our members and their guests, who may want to join."

There are approximately 100 Friends of the Park City Library members and the benefits of becoming a member include:

  • Admittance to the pre-sale for the Annual Book Sale

  • Discount tickets to future Annual Author Luncheons

  • A subscription to the Friends of the Library newsletter

  • An opportunity to make your library even better

    "I come from a small town in Northern California and I have such great memories of my experiences in that library," Peacock said. "I think the Park City Library is the same type of thing. It is particularly special because this year marks the 125th anniversary of the historical aspect of it and has a community significance that we need to remember and respect."

    Friends of the Park City Library author luncheon will be held on Thursday, Oct. 10, at Deer Valley's Silver Lake Lodge, at 11:30 a.m. Admission is $35 for Friends of the Park City Library and $40 for nonmembers. Memberships are $15. Tickets for parties of 10 are also available. Tickets and memberships are available by calling (435) 513-0214 for reservations.