Britain’s foremost woman travel writer records her life of adventure, from the Antarctic to Zanzibar in her book Glowing Still | A Woman’s Life on the Road published in March 2023.
Growing up among blue-collar Conservatives in Bristol where ‘we didn’t know anyone who wasn’t like us,’ Sara Wheeler knew she needed to get away. Glowing Still is the story of her travelling life in a notoriously testosterone-laden field.
In her twenties, she began a dramatic escape: pole to pole via Poland. She recalls happy days on India’s Puri Express, an Antarctic lavatory through which a seal popped up, and the louche life of a Parisian shopgirl. Corralling reindeer with the Sámi in Arctic Sweden and towing her baby on a sledge, a helpful herdsman advised her to put foil down her bra to facilitate nursing.
But advancing years usher in unheralded freedoms, and journey’s end finds Wheeler at peace among Zanzibar dhows, contemplating our connection with other lives – the irreplaceable value that travel brings – and paying homage to her heroines, among them Martha Gellhorn, the ineffable war correspondent who furnishes Wheeler’s epigraph: ‘I do not wish to be good. I wish to be hell on wheels, or dead.’
Sara will talk about Glowing Still in conversation with Financial Times and Guardian and literary journalist Suzi Feay.
About Sara Wheeler
Sara Wheeler’s prizewinning books include Terra Incognita: Travels in Antarctica (‘I cannot believe there will ever be a better book about the Antarctic’ – Telegraph), The Magnetic North: Travels in the Arctic (‘Exceptional’ – the New York Times Book Review) and Access All Areas: Selected Writings 1990–2010. She has also written biographies of Apsley Cherry-Garrard (‘Superb’ – Guardian) and Denys Finch Hatton (‘Magnificent’ Sunday Times); and O My America! (‘Unforgettable’ Sunday Telegraph). The Sunday Times found her last book, Mud and Stars: Travels in Russia with Pushkin and Other Geniuses of the Golden Age ‘Superlative’. Sara is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature and a contributing editor of the Literary Review.