SHORTLISTED FOR THE RSL ONDAATJE PRIZE 2013 (tba May 2013)
RSL Judges: 'Worthy to stand beside some of the great travel narratives in the English Language'
A Financial Times Book of the Year 2012
Sunday Herald - Notable Books of the Year
Scotsman - Notable Books of the Year
A Sunday Times Travel Book of the Month
Published November 2012 in the UK by Chatto & Windus
To be published October 2013 in the U.S.A. by Counterpoint Press
To be published October 2013 in Germany by Dumont Reiseverlag
Gavin Francis fulfilled a lifetime's ambition when he spent fourteen months as the base-camp doctor at Halley, a profoundly isolated British research station on the Caird Coast of Antarctica. So remote, it is said to be easier to evacuate a casualty from the International Space Station than it is to bring someone out of Halley in winter.
Antarctica offered a year of unparalleled silence and solitude, with few distractions and very little human history, but also a rare oppurtunity to live among emperor penguins, the only species truly at home in the Antarctic. Following the penguins throughout the year - from a summer of perpetual sunshine to months of winter darkness - Gavin Francis explores a world of great beauty conjured from the simplest elements, the hardship of living at 50°C below zero and the unexpected comfort that the penguin community bring.
Empire Antarctica is the story of one man and his fascination with the world's loneliest continent, as well as the emperor penguins who weather the winter with him. Combining an evocative narrative with a sublime sensitivity to the natural world, this is travel writing at its very best.