Monday, 18 August 2014

Arctic Events in Newcastle

In November the Lit & Phil in Newcastle-upon-Tyne will host two events as part of the series Quujaavaarssuk and the Queen of the Sea. The Lit & Phil is a venue full of character, which possesses - among other things - a mesmerising collection of early literature on the Arctic - I spent several months researching in the stacks on my return from Upernavik in 2010. 

Ice and the Imagination

Tuesday 4 November 6pm


This wintery workshop will take classic works of polar exploration and natural history from the Lit & Phil collection as a starting point for new writing about ice, snow and the environment. Poet Nancy Campbell will introduce work by contemporary writers on the subject and guide you through prompts to create your own poems and stories.

Seven Words for Winter: Arctic Poems

Monday 17 November 7pm


In this reading Nancy Campbell will evoke the atmosphere of ‘the most northern museum in the world’ on the remote island of Upernavik in Greenland. These poems describe the disappearing arctic language and environment and retell the colourful myths of the Inuit coastal community. The evening will open with readings of new work from writers who participated in the Ice and the Imagination workshop.

Numbers are limited so booking is advised for both these events.
Please contact The Lit & Phil, 23 Westgate Road, Newcastle upon Tyne, NE1 1SE
Tel: 0191 232 0192 

Thanks to Arts Council England for supporting these activities

The Arctic Book Club

‘Our words are a kind of rescue team on a relentless mission to save past events and extinguished lives from the black hole of oblivion, and that is no easy task; along the way they are welcome to find some answers, then get us out of here before it is too late. Let this suffice for now, we’ll send the words on to you, those bewildered scattered rescue teams unsure of their task, all compasses broken, maps torn or out of date, yet you should welcome them. Then we shall see what happens.’ From Heaven and Hell by Jón Kalman Stefánsson

This winter you are invited to explore the Arctic … in five books.

Starting in October, the Arctic Book Club will meet every month in Oxford. Over a traditional Greenlandic kaffemik (cakes, coffee and chat) each month we’ll read and discuss a recent piece of writing about the Arctic, from fiction and travel writing to poetry and essays, including Barry Lopez’s classic Arctic Dreams and Hannah Kent’s highly-acclaimed recent novel Burial Rites.

No specialist knowledge required – this will be a fun and friendly way to learn more about the growing genre of writing on the polar regions. As well as the main titles, I can offer suggested background reading for super-keen or speedy readers.

These meetings are free. Places are limited so booking is essential. Email me ( for more information or to secure your place.


Monday 6th October
 - Burial Rites by Hannah Kent (novel)
Monday 10th November - Arctic Dreams by Barry Lopez (natural history) 

Monday 8th December - A Dream in Polar Fog by Yuri Rytkheu (novel) 

Monday 12th January
 - True North by Gavin Francis (travel)
Monday 9th February - Open forum. Bring your own favourite Arctic reads to discuss and recommend. (I'll bring a selection of recent poetry collections on Arctic themes by British poets, and read some traditional Inuit poems - in Tom Lowenstein's excellent translation.)

I am grateful to Arts Council England for a Grant for the Arts to support this activity