‘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the words on to you, those bewildered scattered rescue teams unsure of their task, all compasses broken, maps torn or out of date, yet you should welcome them.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 (firstname.lastname@example.org) 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