Only boffins and brains get to go to Antarctica. Don’t they? You could certainly be forgiven for thinking this if you haven’t read Antarctic Writer on Ice, an innovative account of Australian author Hazel Edward’s 2001 trip to Antarctica.
Chosen, following a rigorous selection process, for the sole annual humanities berth sponsored by the Australian National Antarctic Research Expedition (ANARE), Edwards travelled on the scientific resupply ship Polar Bird. The voyage, which should have taken about 3 weeks, was to be both longer and more trying than Edwards expected.
Using an interesting assortment of mediums, Edwards shares her experiences and insights. The diary includes recounts, emails, scientific reports, photographs and more, which give more than a simple chronological report of the trip.
Officially, Edwards was aboard ship to collect material for her creative writing projects, including a Young Adult novel, and to write newspaper pieces. As well as doing all this she became the ship’s semi-official writer, and part of a unique family, drawn together by the strangeness of their situation and by the unfolding events of their voyage.
Antartic Writer on Ice is a unique insight into the Antarctic experience. As well as sharing her own emotions – from the self doubt of wondering whether she can cope, to the wonder of seeing it all for the first time – Edwards is also able to share some of the highs and lows of fellow travellers.
This is an excellent read for anyone with an interest in writing, travel, or simply life experience, and essential reading for anyone fortunate enough to be preparing for a stint in Antarctica. It would also make an excellent classroom resource, showing the different styles and formats of writing for different media and audiences.
Antarctic Writer on Ice is available in paperback and e-book formats from Common Ground Publishing.
Antarctic Writer on Ice: Diary of an Enduring Adventure, by Hazel Edwards
Common Ground Publishers, 2002
Paperback ISBN: 1 86335 090 X
eBook ISBN: 1 86335 091 8