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Book Club Guide & Teaching Resource Now Available for 'In Antarctica'

Posted: Wednesday, July 3, 2013 at 3:09pm

In Antarctica: An Amundsen Pilgrimage, published by Nightwood Editions, is the new travel memoir by Vancouver Island University professor Jay Ruzesky. Ruzesky's famous ancestor Roald Amundsen was a Norwegian explorer who became the first person to reach the South Pole, and one hundred years later, Ruzesky followed his footsteps all the way to Antarctica himself. In Antarctica is the story of both men's journeys, linking history with the present.

Now available for the first time are the Book Club Guide and Teaching Resource for In Antarctica, to help book clubs facilitate conversations around the memoir with their members, and teachers plan activities and discussions with their students. These resources are available to download for free on the In Antarctica book page, or by clicking the links above.

In December 1911, Roald Amundsen became the first person to set foot on the South Pole after a year-and-a-half-long journey by ship and dog sledges, through ocean storm and Antarctic fog, across churning water, desolate plains and over mountain passes that had never been touched by man.

In December 2011, Jay Ruzesky followed in the footsteps of Amundsen, a man who had captured his imagination since he was a young boy travelling the high seas of his family home’s hallways, stocked with rations of Ritz crackers. Jay’s journey was not as dangerous or as unprecedented as Amundsen’s— Jay travelled in relative comfort aboard the research vessel Polar Pioneer, exploring ice floes by kayak, decked out in the latest winter gear. However, his expedition was coloured by a deep knowledge and love for his family’s history. Years of imagining had finally brought him to the doorstep of this vast and astonishing landscape, making the experience every bit as rich and life-changing as Amundsen’s own.

Through In Antarctica, Jay Ruzesky interweaves the stories of himself and his ancestor in their quests to this place that has captured the imagination of the world for centuries, leaving us with a greater understanding of both explorers. “What I feel in this moment, alone on the edge of the ship at the end of the world,” Jay says, when he finally reaches his destination, “is belonging. I feel at home.”

Jay Ruzesky's fiction, poetry, and non-fiction has been published in Canada and internationally and translated into Spanish, Portuguese, and Russian. His previous books include Blue Himalayan Poppies, Painting the Yellow House Blue, and Am I Glad To See You. His first novel, The Wolsenburg Clock, was shortlisted for the City of Victoria Butler Book Prize and a ReLit Award. He has been on the editorial board of The Malahat Review for over twenty years and is co-founder of Outlaw Editions. He teaches English, Film Studies, and Creative Writing at Vancouver Island University and lives on Vancouver Island.