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March 2019 Non-Fiction: Biography & Autobiography

Lands of Lost Borders
Out of Bounds on the Silk Road
By (author): Kate Harris
9780345816788 Paperback, Trade English General Trade BIOGRAPHY & AUTOBIOGRAPHY / Adventurers & Explorers May 07, 2019
$21.00 CAD
Active 5.54 x 8.22 x 0.81 in 320 pages 8-PAGE PHOTOS ON TEXT STOCK Knopf Random Vintage Canada Vintage Canada
BC Book Prize's Hubert Evans Non-Fiction Prize 2019, Short-listed Banff Mountain Book Competition 2018, Winner Kobo Emerging Writer Prize 2019, Short-listed RBC Taylor Prize 2019, Winner
“Every day on a bike trip is like the one before—but it is also completely different, or perhaps you are different, woken up in new ways by the mile.”

As a teenager, Kate Harris realized that the career she most craved—that of a generalist explorer, equal parts swashbuckler and philosopher—had gone extinct. From her small-town home in Ontario, it seemed as if Marco Polo, Magellan and their like had long ago mapped the whole Earth. So she vowed to become a scientist and go to Mars.

To pass the time before she could launch into outer space, Kate set off by bicycle down a short section of the fabled Silk Road with her childhood friend Mel Yule, then settled down to study at Oxford and MIT. Eventually the truth dawned on her: an explorer, in any day and age, is by definition the kind of person who refuses to live between the lines. And Harris had soared most fully out of bounds right here on Earth, travelling a bygone trading route on her bicycle. So she quit the laboratory and hit the Silk Road again with Mel, this time determined to bike it from the beginning to end.

Weaving adventure and deep reflection with the history of science and exploration, Kate Harris offers a travel narrative at once exuberant and meditative, wry and rapturous, about the nature of limits and the wildness of a world that, like the stars and like our selves, can never be fully mapped.

Publication History: Knopf Canada, HC (01/2018)


LEADING ADVENTURER: Named one of Canada’s top 100 modern-day explorers by Canadian Geographic, and top 10 adventurers by Explore magazine. Her commitment to thinking beyond borders earned her a Women of Discovery Award from Wings WorldQuest in 2010.

MODERN-DAY EXPLORER: Fellow of the Explorers Club and Royal Canadian Geographical Society.

MEDIA: Kate Harris has been interviewed by Outside, Vogue Germany, National Geographic Radio, and CBC Radio.

KATE HARRIS is a writer, adventurer, and one of Canada’s top modern-day explorers. Her award-winning nature and travel writing has featured in The Walrus, Canadian Geographic Travel, Sidetracked and The Georgia Review, and cited in Best American Essays and Best American Travel Writing. She has degrees in science from MIT and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and in the history of science from Oxford, where she studied as a Rhodes scholar. When she isn’t away on expeditions, or reporting on UN environmental negotiations for the International Institute for Sustainable Development, Harris lives off-grid in a log cabin on the border of the Yukon, British Columbia and Alaska. Lands of Lost Borders is her first book.

Author Residence: Atlin, BC

Author Hometown: Fergus, ON

Author Website:

Author Social Media: Twitter: @kateonmars | Facebook: | Instagram: @kateoffmars

“Kate Harris packs more exuberant spirit, intrepid charm, wit, poetry and beauty into her every paragraph than most of us can manage in a lifetime. …Lands of Lost Borders carried me up into a state of openness and excitement I haven’t felt for years. It’s a modern classic.”—Pico Iyer

“Kate Harris arrives among us like a meteor—a hurtling intelligence, inquiring into the nature of political borders and the meaning of crossing over. The honesty behind her self-doubt, her championing of simple human friendship, and her sheer determination to explore what she does not know, compel you to travel happily alongside her in Lands of Lost Borders.”—Barry Lopez

“This is a hymn to the pure love of travel: a brave and astonishing journey.”—Colin Thubron

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