Sara Wheeler

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Sara Diane Wheeler FRSL (born 20 March 1961) is a British travel author and biographer, noted for her accounts of polar regions.


Sara Wheeler was brought up in Bristol, England, and studied Classics and Modern Languages at Brasenose College, University of Oxford. After writing about her travels on the Greek island of Euboea and in Chile, she was accepted by the US National Science Foundation as their first female writer-in-residence at the South Pole, and spent seven months in Antarctica.

In her resultant book Terra Incognita: Travels in Antarctica, she mentioned sleeping in the captain’s bunk in Scott's Hut.[1] Whilst in Antarctica she read The Worst Journey in the World, an account of the Terra Nova Expedition, and she later wrote a biography of its author Apsley Cherry-Garrard.[2]

In 1999 she was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature.[3] From 2005 to 2009 she served as Trustee of the London Library.[4]

She was frequently abroad for two years, travelled to Russia, Alaska, Greenland, Canada and North Norway to write her book The Magnetic North: Travels in the Arctic. A journalist at the Daily Telegraph in the UK called it a "snowstorm of historical, geographical and anthropological facts".[5]

In a 2012 BBC Radio 4 series: To Strive and Seek, she told the personal stories of five various members of the Terra Nova Expedition.[6]

O My America!: Second Acts in a New World records the lives of women who travelled to America in the first half of the 19th century: Fanny Trollope, Fanny Kemble, Harriet Martineau, Rebecca Burlend, Isabella Bird, and Catherine Hubback, and the author's travels in pursuit of them.[7]

Travel books


Children's book


  1. ^ Wheeler, Sara (1997). Terra Incognita: Travels in Antarctica. p. 297. 
  2. ^ Lucy Moore (4 November 2001). "The nice man cometh Sara Wheeler brings her Antarctic experience to bear on her biography of the reserved but passionate polar explorer Apsley Cherry-Garrard". The Observer. Retrieved 22 August 2012. 
  3. ^ "All Fellows:W". Royal Society of Literature. Retrieved 19 February 2012. 
  4. ^ "The London Library and The London Library Trust Annual Reports and Financial Statements 2009-2010" (PDF). The London Library. Retrieved 19 February 2012. 
  5. ^ Gill Hornby (26 September 2009). "The Magnetic North - Notes from the Arctic Circle by Sara Wheeler: review". The Telegraph. Retrieved 22 August 2012. 
  6. ^ "BBC Radio 4 Programmes - To Strive and Seek". BBC Online. Retrieved 19 February 2012. 
  7. ^ Sattin, Anthony. "O My America! by Sara Wheeler". The Spectator. Retrieved 16 March 2013. 
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