Magnetic North by Sara Wheeler (non-fiction)
Sara Wheeler is a well-established travel writer who has made a name for herself by exploring some of the wilder parts of the world. This brilliant novel sees her exploring the different regions that make up the Arctic zone, staying with the people that live and work there and describing, brilliantly, their ways of life.
The Svalbard Passage by Thomas Kirkwood (fiction)
It’s the height of the cold war and the suspicious death of a team of climbers in Svalbard leads the world's two superpowers to the brink of nuclear war. On the surface, it sounds far-fetched but as the characters play out their parts in the story it quickly unravels as any great thriller does. It may be fiction but all good fiction is based on some facts and for anyone visiting Svalbard it gives a real sense of the importance of this archipelago in recent world history.
Dark Matter by Michele Paver (fiction)
It’s 1937 and a team of young scientists head to a remote lodge in the Arctic wilderness where they will spend the rest of summer and all of winter. But, one by one they are forced to leave until only Jack is left, yet he is not alone as something else is there with him. This is a brilliantly written ghost story, full of brooding atmosphere and menace drawing on the scale and remoteness of Svalbard and the way in which 24-hour darkness and isolation plays with the mind.
Svalbard - An Artificial Life by Julia de Cooker (photography)
This is a wonderful collection of photographs from Svalbard taking in a wide range of subject matter from bright white snow scenes to the colourful aurora of night, as well as the people, the miners, bar workers and families that call Svalbard home.
Spitsbergen-Svalbard: A Complete Guide Around The Arctic Archipelago by Strange Rolf (non-fiction)
A highly detailed and well-researched guide to the archipelago with some beautiful photography and hard to find detailed maps of key sites. This makes either a great research book to read before you travel or a brilliant companion during your trip.
The Ice Balloon by Alec Wilkinson
The discovery of a frozen body on the remote Island of Kvitøya solves a thirty-three-year-old mystery. In the dawn of a new age of heroic polar exploration, Swedish explorer and balloonist Salmon Andree makes a radical but fatal attempt to reach the North Pole by air. Wilkinson explorers spirit of discovery that drove Salmon and others into the deadly white of the ice.
The First Crossing of Greenland by Fridtjof Nansen (non-fiction)
The story of the first crossing of the Greenland ice cap as told by the man himself.
A Wilder Time: Notes from a Geologist at the Edge of the Greenland Ice by William Glassley (non-fiction)
Glassley is a professor of geology at the University of Aarhus in Denmark and has spent many seasons exploring the edge of the ice in West Greenland. This book is a dramatic account of how global warming is affecting the planet and contains some startling insights into the way our planet is evolving.
The Long Exile: A true story of deception and survival amongst the Inuit of the Canadian Arctic by Melanie McGrath
This book follows the story of Joseph Flaherty, the bastard son of filmmaker Robert Flaherty who made the infamous Nanook of the North. Having grown up without his father Joseph was then part of a great re-settlement of Inuit communities carried out by the Canadian government in the 1950s. This re-settlement was sold to them as being the start of a new life in an Eden-like environment, but turned out to be nothing like that.
My Sea Lady - Graeme Ogden
An epic memoir of life in the Arctic Convoy, protecting the lifeline that kept the Allies in the war, My Sea Lady perfectly captures the anxiety, bravery and fortitude of those who battled both elements and the Axis in one of the toughest environment on earth. Written by the Great Grandfather of our very own Arctic specialist, Tennessee Blackmore.
Nanook of the North
Something of a legendary film shot in the 1920s by the Irish-American, Robert Flaherty. There is a lot of ethical debate that surrounds this film and the way in which elements may have been staged or not, as well as the way in which Flaherty interacted with the Inuit. Putting all that to one side though it is a seminal work which will take you through the life of an Inuit family as they hunt and gather their food, build an igloo and survive through the seasons.
With staggering images filmed by award-winning crews and narrated by David Attenborough, this seven-part documentary series covers life in both the Arctic and Antarctica in staggering beauty and detail.
Arctic with Bruce Parry
A five-part BBC documentary series in which the adventurer and explorer Bruce Parry visits local communities to live alongside them and discovering the dramatic changes in their lifestyles.
How I Ended This Summer (2010) - Director, Alexei Popogrebsky
A critically-acclaimed Russian film based around two characters on a remote island in the Russian Arctic. Sergei and Pasha are there to collect meteorological readings every four hours and report back to the mainland, but things soon go wrong and the two fall out with near disastrous consequences.
Atanarjuat – The Fast Runner (2001) - Director, Zacharias Kunuk
The first film ever to be filmed entirely in the Inuktitut language, this tells the story of an ancient Inuit legend. The marriage of Atanarjuat to his two wives provokes the son of the tribal leader who kills the brother of Atanarjuat. The latter, for his own safety, flees on foot across the ice.
The Savage Innocents (1960) - Director, Nicholas Ray
A film from a bygone era showing how much attitude to First Nations or Inuit people has changed over the years. In this film, starring Peter O’Toole, Inuk the Eskimo comes across a white missionary and accidentally kills him, only to find himself hunted by the police.