Happy International Women’s Day

by | 8 Mar 2023

Dear Friends

Happy International Women’s Day!

I haven’t sent a mailing out for a long while. I publicly promise on my website that I don’t email people too often (and do check out my website because I’ve recently updated it). But it’s been nearly a year since I last wrote, and that kind of feels like it’s going the other way.

So I thought today – being an international woman myself – might be a good day to write. Plus I have several pieces of good news to share…But firstly, I just want to acknowledge it’s March. This time last year I was about to head to Nepal for what I now consider my third and final attempt to summit Everest (who I call ‘Chomolungma’ – her original Tibetan name). And thankfully – maybe because three is a magic number – I succeeded. My thoughts are with all the mountaineers who are about to head to the Himalayas to try and achieve their dreams. And if you want to follow this year’s climbing season then I highly recommend Alan Arnette’s blog – the unparalleled authority on what happens on the mountain each year.

On Everest | Chomolungma, 2022

I have to admit I’m not disappointed to be sitting this season out (in fact I’ll be swimming some of it out because I’m heading to the Indian ocean in April – a treat I promised myself if I got to the top of the world). But, for the record, I’ll just be frolicking with the fishes…I’ve hung up my big challenge pants for a while. In fact, amazingly, I found out at the end of last year that I’ve become the first woman in the world to swim the English Channel, run the London Marathon, and climb Mount Everest/Chomolungma – what I’m calling the ‘Sea Street Summit Challenge’! As I still consider myself to be the most unlikely athlete – that’s quite enough to be going on with for now.

Instead, this year is all about creative projects for me – and I’m excited to announce that my new (third) book will be coming out next Spring (2024). It’s an adventure story with a difference and I can’t say too much more yet until my publisher is ready to announce. But in summary it’s about me, music and mountains. And I finished writing the first full draft last summer in bed with a broken leg (now thankfully fully healed – there will be more of my ‘Touching the Void’ summit story in the book ). The manuscript went out to prospective publishers in November and by Christmas I had two fabulous offers on the table – a mini auction! I was bowled over to be honest and feel very very blessed. I chose the publisher whose team were all wearing the colours of the Tibetan prayer flag when we met (that wasn’t the only reason – but it did feel like a sign).

And in other good news, my first two books – The Pursuit of Motherhood and 21 Miles – have just been formally optioned for screen. The film is being produced by Erebus Pictures, and adapted by Anoushka Warden (whose first novel is coming out next year in the UK and the States and I predict is going to be HUGE). And the BFI are on board as a funder. The film’s not fully financed or green lit yet but the contracts are signed. I’ll keep you updated. Let’s hope that if it does get made whoever plays me looks better in a swimming costume than I do!

I’m also starting to do more talks, podcasts, press, and various other events – check out my Linktree for the latest. And do follow me on instagram, twitter, facebook – and even tiktok for more regular updates. I’m also planning to start substack-ing soon. I’ve historically been pretty rubbish on social media but I challenged myself recently to fall in love with it, or break off the relationship for good. Turns out romance isn’t dead.

Jessica with Kay Burley and Dame Professor Lesley Regan at Sky News last month

I also plan to start sending emails a bit more regularly. Not too often, I promise, and if you ever want to unsubscribe you can. Don’t worry I don’t look at who’s unsubscribed, like I don’t look at who likes my social media posts. I’ve found it’s the best way to keep loving yourself.

Anyway, one of the dangers of only sending emails very occasionally is there’s a risk of them getting too long. Personally, I like my letters short – and my life long. And on that, my dear mum turned 91 last Friday and we just had a lovely celebratory birthday weekend with her which felt doubly special because she’s been in and out of hospital quite a bit over the last few months (check out her b-day pics on my social media). I said to her at the end of it: ‘You must be tired mum.’ And she said: ‘Yes, but it’s a wonderful tired.’

So here’s hoping you’ll all be wonderfully Wednesday tired by the end of today – International Women’s Day 2023.

All my love until next time,

Jessica x