In this episode, Andrea and Annabelle look at books that take their characters to some dangerous places, from the isolation of a cabin in the Arctic, to the simmering violence of an African jungle, before speaking to bestselling Icelandic crime writer Yrsa Sigurdardottir about writing crime fiction in the land of fire and ice.
Books and authors mentioned in this episode:
A Woman in the Polar Night by Christiane Ritter
Austrian housewife Christiane Ritter's memoir of a year spent in a cabin in Spitsbergen surrounded by polar bears and deadly conditions in 1933 with her husband is a masterclass in resilience and inspiration for anyone travelling to the Arctic or following a loved one on a journey into the unknown.
Dark Matter by Michelle Paver
If you're ready for cold weather to seep into your fiction, you can try this horror/ghost story set in an isolated base camp of a scientific expedition in Svalbard in 1937. Thanks to Emily Barr for the recommendation!
Brazzaville Beach by William Boyd
In the midst of raging civil wars in an unnamed African nation, ethologist Hope Clearwater is apprehensive of the results of ongoing primate research and grapples with the strain of her marriage to a brilliant mathematician on the brink.
An African in Greenland by Tété-Michel Kpomassie
Published in 1981, this Togo teenager's account of discovering a book about Greenland, and then working his way north over the course of a decade to get there is the travel memoir we can't wait to read next.
About Yrsa Sigurdaddotir
A prolific writer and civil engineer with both children’s books and dark crime fiction to her name, Yrsa Sigurdaddotir made her crime fiction debut in 2005 with Last Rituals and has been translated into more than thirty languages. The Silence of the Sea won the Petrona Award in 2015 and The Prey won the 2020 Icelandic Blood Drop Award for the best crime novel of 2020. Gallows Rock is her thirteenth adult novel and the fourth in the Freyja and Huldar Series. The Legacy is the first in this series and one of the titles mentioned in the episode.
Ahlam Bolooki is the Festival Director for the Emirates Airline Festival of Literature, the largest celebration of the written and spoken word in the Arab World. Ahlam finds it difficult to choose a favourite genre as it’s always changing and she’s still in the midst of discovering her literary self. She’s catching up on all the gems she missed as a child such as The Little Prince and The Giving Tree, but has also developed a new appetite for Crime Fiction so who knows what’s next?
Andrea Gissdal is the Head of Communications and Marketing for the Emirates Literature Foundation. From a voracious and indiscriminate reader as a child, to a part time bookseller as a student, as an adult she has become a literary omnivore but with a preference for fiction. She also dabbles in creative writing, and has a penchant for Scrabble.
Annabelle Corton is part of the team that puts together the programme of events for the EmiratesLitFest each year. She runs the Festival Book Club and has a background in guesting and presenting on talk radio shows about various literary topics. She likes words like ‘equinox’ and ‘vespa’, and loves a good pun. She’ll read anything in reach, but has a fondness for witty tussles of good vs. evil on page and screen, especially vampire fiction where a great deal is at stake. Get it? Stake? ….She’s not sorry.