My only children’s book. I tried, writing this, to do the same thing as I did in Terra Incognita – take the reader there. The Daniel in question, my eldest and much-loved godson, is a doctor now.
Co-edited this. I wish we had done a follow-up volume – though maybe it’s not too late. We wrote some bolshie feminist stuff in the intro which Private Eye picked up on – the highest accolade.
If the Antarctic is a symbol of what the planet could be, the Arctic represents what the planet actually is. This is a book about beauty and horror. And it was wonderful to hear the crunch of my boots on ice again.
I love the US, and the most interesting period of its history was the second and third quarters of the nineteenth century, before the railroad joined it up, coast to coast. I turned fifty while this one was on the go and I find it now infused with the elegiac melancholy of middle age.
For this one I spent six months travelling from the top to the bottom of Chile carrying only a carpetbag – the working title of the manuscript was, ‘Keep the Mountains on the Left’.
My first biography. Writing it was an adventure every bit as challenging as travelling in Antarctica. I miss Cherry. In my head I was with him every day for three years. Dead people are so much easier to get along with than live ones.