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Glowing Still

Paperback / ISBN-13: 9780349145105

Price: £12.99

ON SALE: 6th June 2024

Genre: Lifestyle, Sport & Leisure / Travel & Holiday / Travel Writing

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Britain’s foremost woman travel writer Sara Wheeler records her life of adventure, from the Antarctic to Zanzibar

‘Funny, furious writing from the queen of intrepid travel’ Daily Telegraph

‘Intrepid and sparky, full of canny quips and lightly poetic observations’ Mail on Sunday

‘Magnificent and unusual’ Viv Groskop, Spectator

Sara Wheeler is Britain’s foremost woman travel writer. Glowing Still is the story of her travelling life – what is ‘important, revealing or funny’ – in a notoriously testosterone-laden field. Growing up among blue-collar Conservatives in Bristol where ‘we didn’t know anyone who wasn’t like us’, Wheeler knew she needed to get away. In her twenties she began a dramatic escape: Pole to Pole, via Poland. Glowing Still recalls happy days on India’s Puri Express; an Antarctic lavatory through which a seal popped up (hot fishy breath!); and the louche life of a Parisian shopgirl. Corralling reindeer with the Sámi in Arctic Sweden and towing her baby on a sledge, a helpful herdsman advised her to put foil down her bra to facilitate nursing.

Launching at Nubility, Wheeler voyages, via small children, to the welcoming port of Invisibility (she leaves Immobility for the next volume). As she writes in the introduction, when she set sail ‘Role models were scarce in the travel-writing game.’ But advancing years usher in unheralded freedoms, and journey’s end finds Wheeler at peace among Zanzibar dhows, contemplating our connection with other lives – the irreplaceable value that travel brings – and paying homage to her heroines, among them Martha Gellhorn, the ineffable war correspondent who furnishes Wheeler’s epigraph: ‘I do not wish to be good. I wish to be hell on wheels, or dead.’


A great read, full of acute observation, strongly held beliefs, good stories, and telling detail, all leavened with wry humour
Sherborne Times
[An] excellent memoir, funny, fierce and challenging... Intensely curious and observant, [Wheeler] researches in depth and keeps detailed notebooks... If there is a certain melancholy in this book, there is also exhilaration, and hope
Anne Chisholm, Tablet
[Wheeler is] an absolute hoot. But also deadly serious, fabulously well-read, thoughtful, self-deprecating - everything you'd want while slowly crossing some vast continent by bus or by train. Glowing Still is the next best thing to hopping on board with her... An ingenious piece of work... dozens of intriguing insights and remarks about the life of the travel writer
Daily Telegraph
Funny, furious writing from the queen of intrepid travel
Daily Telegraph
[A] brilliant new memoir... Wheeler unearths the notebooks in which she has recorded her far-flung trips over the years
Laura Antonia Jordan, Elle
One of the pleasures of this engrossing book is Wheeler's knack for bringing a country alive through small details
Daily Mail
Intrepid and sparky, full of canny quips and lightly poetic observations... throughout her entertaining and thoughtful voyage through notebooks amassed over decades, any wistfulness is amply balanced by a sense of freedom
Mail on Sunday
Part travelogue, part memoir, Glowing Still smoulders with anger about [...] the historically contested place of women travel writers... It's also a funny and revealing account of her own journey as a writer... colourful, deceptively capacious... Wheeler excels at uncovering illuminating details about the people she meets
Times Literary Supplement
Martha Gellhorn is one of Sara Wheeler's heroines, and something of [Gellhorn's] feisty and defiant sentiments runs through her memoir, which is both enjoyable and impressive... Wheeler is remarkable for the sheer amount of travelling she has done over the last forty years
Literary Review
Magnificent and unusual... Glowing Still is a thoughtful and entertaining meditation on identity, geography and the position of the self in the world... [Wheeler writes] with humour, pathos and genuine curiosity about herself and her work, revealing the backstory to her many award-winning books
Viv Groskop, Spectator
[A] sprightly memoir of her life on the road... Wheeler clothes her experiences with humour and imagination
The Times
Her feminist perspective is thoughtful and incisive, but she also has an eye for the details of everyday life, which can reveal more about a place than a thousand statistics or any macho account of derring-do... Disarmingly modest and dazzlingly eloquent, one could listen to her recollections all day
The Lady