Landscape logo with the word Bookshapers and, below it, Anna Faherty & Judith Watts



The Sign of the Penguins

In which Anna and Judith travel to Antarctica to embark on the greatest possible adventure: publishing a book! Expect cold, dark and dismal weather, the printing press from hell and the stench of seal blubber – all wrapped up in tasty petit-pois endpapers.


Aurora Australis was the first book ever written, printed and bound in Antarctica. This rare collection of fact, fiction and poetry was self-published in 1908, at Shackleton’s hut in Cape Royds. Here’s a complete digital version of Aurora Australis provided by Christ’s College at the University of Cambridge:

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Books & links

The Heart of the Antarctic, a popular account of the expedition written by its leader, Ernest Shackleton. Published by Heinemann in 1910.
Antarctic Days: Sketches of the homely side of Polar life by two of Shackleton’s men, an informal account of daily life during the expedition, written and illustrated by James Murray and George Marston. Published by Andrew Melrose in 1913.
Nimrod: Ernest Shackleton and the extraordinary story of the 1907-1909 British Antarctic Expedition, a present-day account by Beau Riffenburgh. Published by Bloomsbury in 2004.
See images of Shackleton’s hut (from the Antarctic Heritage Trust)
Find out what was in Shackleton’s library (from the BBC)
Watch how a modern day facsimile of Aurora Australis was produced (by the Folio Society)

Photos of the hut

These photographs were published in Shackleton’s 1910 book, The Heart of the Antarctic.

Extract from the frontispiece of Aurora Australis with a printed image of two penguins and the words Printed at the sign 'the penguins'