Unfolding Maps


#19: Fathoms – The World in the Whale – with Rebecca Giggs

"Fathoms - The World in the Whale": That is the title of Australian author Rebecca Giggs' first book (published by SCRIBE and Simon Schuster in April 2020) – and it is, indeed, the gate to a large world...

In it, Rebecca blends natural history, philosophy and science to reveal an unexpected world in a stranded whale – with more cross-connections to our “human world” than we might have ever thought about.⁠

In Australia, "Fathoms" won the Mark and Evette Moran Nib Literary Prize, and the Royal Society's Whitley Award for Popular Zoology. The book has also recently been shortlisted for the prestigious ALA Andrew Carnegie Medal for Excellence in Nonfiction, and the Kirkus Prize in the US. Rebecca's essays and articles have appeared in Best Australian Science Writing and Best Australian Essays, as well as in The Atlantic, Granta, The New York Times Magazine, and Griffith Review.⁠

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#28: Euphoria and Terror – Crossing Antarctica with Felicity Aston MBE

“I just think back to that first time I got a proper look at Antarctica: There was something about the simplicity and the beauty and the perfectness of it all that made me want to scoop it all up and somehow contain it in me.”That's a quote from our guest, Polar explorer, Antarctic scientist, author, speaker and expedition leader Felicity Aston MBE. And that is exactly what she did: She preserved Antarctica (and the polar regions) within herself. She spent a continuous period of two and a half years (including two consecutive winters) at Rothera Research Station on the Antarctic Peninsula. These first experiences in Antarctica then led to numerous expeditions to remote places around the world (but particularly to the Polar Regions): She led record-breaking international teams to the North and South Poles, worked on a nuclear-powered icebreaker at the North Pole, led the first British Women’s crossing of Greenland, skied along a frozen river in Siberia, traversed the winter ice of Lake Baikal, raced in the Canadian Arctic, drove 35,000km across Eurasia to the coldest inhabited place in the world … and in 2012 she became the first woman to ski alone across Antarctica. It was a journey of 1744 km that took her 59 days to complete. With this, she set a world record. And she was not only the first woman to master this tour, but also the first person – male or female – to do so alone and with her own muscle power.Felicity reports on her experiences in four books and regularly produces articles for various publications in the UK and abroad. She has been elected Fellow of both the Royal Geographical Society in London and The Explorers Club in New York, and received many more awards.In this episode, she talks about the challenges she had to face during her Antarctic crossing – and the beauty of it all!