Snow. Every language has its own words for the feather-like flakes that come from the sky. In Japanese we find Yuki-onna – a 'snow woman' who drifts through the frosted land. In Icelandic falls Hundslappadrífa – 'big as a dog's paw'. And in Maori we meet Huka-rere – 'one of the children of rain and wind'.
From mountain tops and frozen seas to city parks and desert hills, writer and Arctic traveller Nancy Campbell digs deep into the meanings of fifty words for snow. Under her gaze, each of these linguistic snow crystals offers a whole world of myth and story.
Nancy Campbell is an award-winning writer, described as 'deft, dangerous and dazzling' by the Poet Laureate, Carol Ann Duffy. Her travels in the Arctic between 2010 and 2017 have resulted in several projects responding to the environment, most recently The Library of Ice: Readings in a Cold Climate, which was longlisted for the Rathbones Folio Prize 2019. Her previous book on the polar environment, Disko Bay, was shortlisted for the Forward Prize for Best First Collection in 2016. She has been a Marie Claire 'Wonder Woman', a Hawthornden Fellow and Visual and Performing Artist in Residence at Oxford University. She is currently a Literature Fellow at Internationales Kunstlerhaus Villa Concordia in Bamberg, Germany.
"A sparkling prism to reveal what snow means to different cultures [...] [an] exploration of the language that describes myriad snowscapes, from mountain peaks and ancient glaciers to boreal cities and Baltic landscapes."
– National Geographic
"Pithy, clear-eyed [...] like so many magical portals, offering fleeting but fascinating glimpses into unfamiliar worlds."
"A miraculous snow bank of niveous names and knowledge as delicate and multifaceted as the flakes it celebrates. A glittering cloud of Inupiaq, Icelandic, compound Maori, Finnish, Scots, Thai, Hebrew, American Sign Language."
– Dan Richards, author of Outpost: A Wild Journey to the Ends of the Earth
"This is a book of now [...] It shows us how we are connected and united across languages and across borders, through our environment, climate, stories and Nature. Fifty Words for Snow is both gorgeous and important to hunker down with, whatever the weather outside."
– Resurgence & Ecologist Magazine