Kate Harris

author & adventurer



Lands of Lost Borders


The Book


Carried me up into a state of excitement I haven’t felt for years. It’s a modern classic.
— Pico Iyer
Cover of the Knopf Canada edition.

Cover of the Knopf Canada edition.

Available for pre-order:

Pub dates:

+ January 2018 in CANADA
(Knopf Canada)

+May 2018 IN USA
(Dey St/HarperCollins)




As a teenager, Kate Harris realized that the career she most craved—that of a generalist explorer, equal parts swashbuckler and metaphysician—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.

Well along this path, Harris set off by bicycle down a short section of the fabled Silk Road with her childhood friend Mel Yule. This trip was just a simulacrum of exploration, she thought, not the thing itself—a little adventure to pass the time until she could launch for outer space. But somewhere in between sneaking illegally across Tibet, studying the history of science and exploration at Oxford, and staring down a microscope for a doctorate at MIT, she realized that an explorer, in any day and age, is by definition the kind of person who refuses to live between the lines. Forget charting maps, naming peaks, leaving footprints on another planet: what she yearned for was the feeling of soaring completely out of bounds. And where she'd felt that most intensely was on a bicycle, on a bygone trading route. So Harris quit the laboratory and hit the Silk Road again with Yule, this time determined to bike it from beginning to end.

Weaving adventure and deep reflection with the history of science and exploration, Lands of Lost Borders explores the nature of limits and the wildness of a world that, like the self, and like the stars, can never be fully mapped.

Can't wait for the book? Check out this "highlights" film reel from my and Mel Yule's 2011 Cycling Silk expedition (on which the book is based), showcasing ten months, ten countries, and ten thousand kilometers of the Silk Road...in roughly ten minutes!




Photo credit: Joanne Ratajczak/Glorious & Free

Photo credit: Joanne Ratajczak/Glorious & Free

Kate Harris has written for The WalrusCanadian Geographic, Sierra, and The Georgia Review, among other publications. A Rhodes scholar and Morehead-Cain scholar, she was named one of Canada’s top modern-day explorers and has won several awards for her nonfiction writing. She lives off-grid in a log cabin in Atlin, British Columbia. 

Lands of Lost Borders is her first book.

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News & Events

+ Guest speaker at Outward Bound National Benefit Dinner
LANDS OF LOST BORDERS available for pre-order in Canada
+ One of 33 "audacious Canadians" profiled in Glorious & Free, The Canadians
+ Cover story on Borderski in The Explorers Journal
+ Interviewed by Guernica Magazine
+ Panelist at the 2016 Banff Mountain Film & Book Festival
Borderski film teaser featured on Outside
+ "Notables" nod in Best American Travel Writing 2015
+ Named one of Canada's top 100 modern-day explorers
+ Featured on Outside.com and in VOGUE Germany
+ "Notables" nod in Best American Essays 2013
+ Named one of Canada's top 10 adventurers by Explore
+ Winner of Ellen Meloy Desert Writers Award

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For Kate's agent, please contact Stuart Krichevsky.