Sandy Winterbottom

Sandy Winterbottom spent most of her career as an academic, teaching and researching in the Environmental Sciences at Stirling University. In 2010, she left to work in the renewables industry but following a life-changing trip to South Georgia and the Antarctic in 2016, she returned to study and completed the Creative Writing Masters Programme at Stirling University, tutored by Kathleen Jamie. She lives near Muckhart in Central Scotland. This is her first book.

Sandy on Twitter: @MoogStuff

Sandy Winterbottom is represented at Jenny Brown Associates by Jenny. For all enquiries contact

Books by Sandy

The Two-Headed Whale:
Life and Death in the Southern Oceans

Birlinn, October 2022

In 2016, Sandy Winterbottom embarked on a six-week voyage sailing by tall-ship from Uruguay to Antarctica. At their mid-way stop in South Georgia, she discovered a darker side to the Antarctic: the legacy of twentieth-century industrial-scale whaling. Alongside the spectacular wildlife lay the rusted and skeletal remains of the abandoned whaling stations, littered with asbestos, machinery and whalebones. Then in a small cemetery, she stumbled upon the grave of Anthony Ford, an eighteen-year-old from Edinburgh, the same age as her son. As she returned to her life in Scotland, the image of Anthony’s grave lingered and she began her research, delving into archives, reading contemporary whaling accounts from the 1940s and 1950s, and meeting the whalers that still lived and remembered Anthony. What she found shook her.

Part natural history, part travelogue and memoir, part history and biography, the author juxtaposes her inspiring voyage with the poignant true-life story of Anthony Ford as he sailed the same seas and toiled in an industry where profits outranked human life. She explores the history and modern-day legacy of the industrial exploitation of Antarctica, re-defining its image away from celebrated explorers heroically conquering a savage wilderness, towards those that grafted and earned their livelihoods among the man-made filth – the foundations on which exploration, Empires and the economic elite were built.