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Australian author supports Trust

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Nikki Gemmell, the Australian author of the Antarctic novel Shiver, has made a generous donation to the British Antarctic Monument Trust. 

I came across Nikki's extraordinary anonymous novel The Bride Stripped Bare several years ago. When she was unmasked, as anonymous authors usually are, it led me to find out a little more about its author. It was with some shock that I found that Shiver, her first novel, is semi autobiographical as her heroine Fin visits Antarctica as a journalist.  

Nikki GemmellThe book draws a wonderful picture of the wild beauty of the continent and the idiosyncratic men and women who follow their stars South.  Nikki achieves a level of artistry which is rarely found in the more matter-of-fact genre of Antarctic exploration writings.

The novel echoes Nikki's own experience of falling in love with a man, Martin Davies, whom she met in the Antarctic and who was subsequently killed in an accident whilst climbing in the Vestfold Hills near the Australian Base Davis, a terrible loss which is described in her book.  

Nikki says on her website, "I'd wanted to be a writer since I was about ten, but life always seemed to get in the way. I had to make a living, and when I left university I fell straight into journalism. It involved a lot of shiftwork and moving around, and I was too exhausted to give the writing dream a go. After about seven years, when I'd completely lost the hunger for journalism, Triple J radio in Australia sent me to Antarctica to cover a scientific expedition.

"The trip changed my life in many ways.

"I 'crossed the line' as a journalist - fell in love with someone I was interviewing. Martin was subsequently killed in an accident climbing in the Vestfold Hills near Davis the Australian base. Well, my life was turned upside down. At the age of twenty eight I grew up - it was like I was being hauled into adulthood. Grief gave me clarity, it stopped the silliness. Martin's death taught me the importance of following my heart, of attempting to do what I really wanted to do and not letting people fool me into giving up.

"I finally began the transition from journalism to fiction writing. And ironically, I had the gift of a story.

"Shiver is my most autobiographical novel. After I completed it I felt stripped. I'll never write in such a raw way again. All writers are cannibals in a way, but with this book I cannibalised my own life more than anyone else's.

I wrote Shiver as a gift to Martin."

Shiver can be found on Amazon .   It is a great read.

Roderick Rhys Jones


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