Author Talk at Narromine Library: Ruth E. Wilson Conquering Clouds
Saturday, 07 Oct 2023
10:00am - 11:00am
02 6889 1088
About the Author: Ruth Wilson's life is a tapestry of remarkable achievements and extraordinary experiences. Adopted at the tender age of 3, she went on to become a beauty queen at 17. Her journey took her from the United States to Japan and finally to New Zealand in 1975, where she unexpectedly discovered her true passion—hot air ballooning. Ruth Wilson, a mother of two sons, fearlessly embraced her passion and became one of Australia's early pioneers in hot air and gas ballooning. She achieved numerous 'firsts,' including becoming the first female balloon pilot in Australia to establish her own commercial ballooning company solo in 1976 and the first national ballooning champion in 1979. Her ballooning adventures even took her to Switzerland in 1985, where she encountered gas ballooning, a rarity in Australia. In 1999, Ruth represented her country as a pilot in the prestigious Gordon Bennett Gas Balloon Race, launching from Albuquerque, USA. Ruth's love for extreme ballooning led her back to pilot 'Bernadette' in the 2018 Gordon Bennett Gas Balloon race from Bern, Switzerland. Her determination and endurance during the 33-hour flight over the snow-covered Swiss Alps, without sleep and limited food and water, culminated in a dramatic landing in an Italian vineyard. Beyond her ballooning feats, Ruth held significant corporate roles, including Chief Operations Officer at the ARC Centre of Excellence for Quantum Atom Optics at The Australian National University in Canberra. She also served as the Executive Director for ACRN and managed her own PR/Media company in Sydney for eighteen years. About the Book: "Conquering Clouds" is an enthralling account of the pivotal moments and life experiences that empowered Ruth Wilson to pilot her hydrogen balloon across the snow-clad Swiss Alps at night, ultimately landing in an Italian vineyard. At the age of 75, Ruth's fearless spirit defied her age and inspired all who witnessed her extraordinary journey. The book also recounts her harrowing survival story following a marlin fishing accident near Byron Bay, where a pod of dolphins became her saviors, ensuring her survival. "Conquering Clouds" has received prestigious nominations, including the 2023 Miles Franklin Literary Award, the 2023 Prime Minister's Literary Award in the Non-Fiction category, and the NSW Premier's Literary Awards Douglas Stewart Prize for Non-Fiction.