The Quickening creates community at the ends of the earth

Milkweed Staff — 01/05/2024

On the first day of the new year, we received an exciting and somewhat extraordinary message confirming that one of our books, The Quickening by Pulitzer Prize finalist Elizabeth Rush, is now available in the Little Free Library at the South Pole! For us, the announcement is cause for celebration, as well as gratitude and reflection. We are humbled by the ways in which The Quickening has made waves in the world. And what book could be a better fit for the South Pole’s collection than this one, whose apt subtitle is Creation and Community at the Ends of the Earth? Scroll down to read the message from Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences (CIRES) Senior Scientist Russel Schnell and see photos of Rush’s stunning book in its new far-away home.

Dear [Milkweed Editions],

About 3 months back, someone contacted me on behalf of Elizabeth Rush to request that a copy of her book, The Quickening, be sent to the South Pole to be added to books in the “Little Free Library” I installed there two or so years back.

This has been accomplished as may be seen in the attached photos.  

The photos were sent in a reduced format to be able to get them out of the South Pole via a passing satellite. The higher quality originals will come out on a thumb drive in February when a NOAA staff member will bring them back to the U.S. just before all physical transport ceases for 8 months due to the darkness and cold temperatures (-150 Degrees Fahrenheit) at which aircraft cannot operate.


  Russ Schnell


Elizabeth Rush is the author of The Quickening: Creation and Community at the Ends of the Earth and Rising: Dispatches from the New American Shore, which was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize. Rush’s work has appeared in a wide range of publications from the New York Times to Orion and Guernica. She is the recipient of fellowships from the National Science Foundation, National Geographic, the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, the Howard Foundation, the Andrew Mellon Foundation and the Metcalf Institute. She lives with her husband and son in Providence, Rhode Island, where she teaches creative nonfiction at Brown University.