I may be some time – ice and the English imagination


What on earth could inspire so many men to brave unimaginable cold, hunger, fear, and physical danger in the planet’s most remote and forbidding locales? Spufford explores the British obsession with the world’s coldest and bleakest climes and exploration’s often unsavory ideological bedfellows, including Victorian views about class, race and empire.

Francis Spufford is author of I May Be Some Time, a cultural history of the British obsession with polar exploring, The Child That Books Built, a memoir of a childhood as a compulsive reader, and Backroom Boys, a portrait of de-industrialisation as seen through the experience of engineers. He sees non-fiction as a literature which is as rich and important as the novel, and as open to ambitious thinking.

Francis Spufford