PMJ bags 'definitive' Shackleton biography from Fiennes

PMJ bags 'definitive' Shackleton biography from Fiennes

Penguin Michael Joseph has signed Shackleton, a "definitive" new biography of Britain’s "greatest historical explorer", written by Sir Ranulph Fiennes. 

Publishing director Rowland White acquired world rights from Cathryn Summerhayes at Curtis Brown. Shackleton: An Explorer’s Biography is scheduled for 16th September 2021. 

In 1915, Sir Ernest Shackleton's attempt to traverse the Antarctic was cut short when his ship, "Endurance", became trapped in ice. The disaster left Shackleton and his men alone at the frozen South Pole, fighting for their lives. Their survival and escape is history’s "most enthralling adventure", said the publisher. 

Fiennes' "illuminating" new account of the adventurer, his life and his leadership under the most extreme of circumstances, is billed as both a "reappraisal and a valediction, separating the man from the myth he has become". Fiennes will also draw on his own experience of the Arctic to bring unique insight to Shackleton's life. 

The author, the only living man to have travelled around the Earth's circumpolar surface, said: "All previous biographers of Shackleton have never suffered even a tiny taste of the polar hell on earth that he did. Shackleton’s critics persist in theorising that, had his ship 'Endurance' not sunk on his attempt at the first crossing of the Continent, leaving him landed, he and his men would have suffered a slow and horrible death. I explain how two of us, some 50 years after his death, nearly died proving the critics wrong.  To write about hell, it helps if you’ve been there."

White commented: "Shackleton: An Explorer’s Biography brings Ran’s lifetime of hard-won experience to bear on the story of perhaps the most famous polar explorer of them all. Insightful, vivid and often viscerally exciting, it’s the dream ticket; a perfect marriage of author and subject."

Fiennes published his own memoir, Mad, Bad and Dangerous to Know, with Hodder & Stoughton in 2007.