• The Pilgrim

Fifty Words For Snow by Nancy Campbell

In Fifty Words for Snow, Nancy Campbell continues her work on the “changing landscape of the Arctic” and gifts us not only with the perfect Christmas present but a book of sheer unadulterated beauty.

Continuing the Arctic from her previous work The Library of Ice, Nancy Campbell introduces us to the word for snow in cultures around the world and what snow means and how it affects those cultures during the winter seasons. With such diverse cultures responding to Climate Change Fifty Words for Snow highlights how some of the most indigenous cultures across the world have been forced to adapt with the increasing environmental crises they have been forced to face. This is not so much a catalogue of words but a message to us all how our actions have affected not just culture but also our planet and home and the ever-decreasing Arctic and glaciers.

However, there’s not just a message in the snow, there are tales of loss, of love and memories within every flake of Fifty Words for Snow, and what is abundantly clear from the onset is how much the Arctic has influenced Campbell in her life, from spending time in her youth in the Netherlands to solitude in a Salvation Army House in Ireland, as it has for countless artists throughout history. Snow and Winter have been a predominant theme throughout art, music, literature, history and folklore, spinning not just yarns for our entertainment but entwining itself within our very being.

I often find books such as this difficult to review, as Fifty Words for Snow doesn’t, from the onset, follow a narrative as the book contains literally fifty words for snow with stories and anecdotes accompanying each word albeit with an underlying theme: snow. However, Fifty Words for Snow is not just a description of fifty words for snow but weaves a tapestry of the world in bite-size chunks, the short stories and explorations make the book not just easy to digest but a book that weaves all our differing cultures into a single narrative. Simply wonderful!

Fifty Words for Snow is a book filled with the magic and ethereal mystery of every snowflake, and a journey that you’ll want to return to again and again.

Fifty Words for Snow by Nancy Campbell is published by Elliott & Thompson (£12.99). To order a copy go to

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