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Listen to Excess Baggage for

08 September 2007


Lofoten is an archipelago and a traditional district of Norway situated North of the Arctic Circle.  Sandi Toksvig talks to authors Michelle Paver and Phil Lee about the remote Lofoten Islands and discusses the delights of taking a summer holiday north of the Arctic Circle.

The Gold Coast, Danzig, Fernando Po, Leghorn and Halicarnassus are names that no longer appear on modern maps.  So where are those places now and why did they change their names?  Other place names like Rutland, St Petersburg and Congo have risen from the dead and can be found reclaiming their rightful place in all good gazetteers.

Lexicographer, Harry Campbell reveals the stories behind some of these and other place names and the reasons why they have used the geographical equivalent of the deed poll.

Presented by Sandi Toksvig


Photo: Lofoten

This week's guests:

Michelle Paver
Formerly a patents lawyer, Michelle gave it up to write full time.  She is the author of Wolf Brother, the first in the Chronicles of Ancient Darkness series.  The stories in her chronicles concern the relationship between a boy and a wolf Michelle has just finished writing Outcast the fourth in the series. 

Michelle travelled to the Lofoten Islands to study the terrain and the landscape, and to Greenland to look at killer whales and to research the way of life of the Innuit people.  For the latest book Outcast she also went to Finland Lapland and Spitsbergen and particularly northern Sweden where she stayed by Lake Storsjon.

As the books are set in the Stone Age she went to see caves which contained evidence of prehistoric man. On the Lofoten islands she went to visit rock drawings which involved a boat to the southernmost island and then a long hike up the cliffs to the cave where she saw stick paintings, about four thousand years old. In Sweden she also went to see rock carvings about the same age.

Wolf Brother (Chronicles of Ancient Darkness)
Publisher: Orion Children's
ISBN: 1842551310

Spirit Walker: Bk. 2
Publisher: Orion Children's
ISBN: 184255171X

Soul Eater: Bk. 3
Publisher: Orion Childrens
ISBN-10: 1842551728
ISBN-13: 978-1842551721

Outcast: Bk.4
Publisher: Orion Childrens
ISBN-10: 1842551736
ISBN-13: 978-1842551738

Phil Lee isthe author of the Rough Guide to Norway.  Phil started by working in fish factory in the Faroes through this he got a job in the Danish merchant Navy through which he visited Scandinavian countries and got to know them well.  After leaving the Navy, he started writing for the Rough Guides at which time he visited the Lofoten islands.  Phil has travelled back to the islands a number of times since, most recently last year.

The Rough Guide to Norway
Publisher: Rough Guides Ltd
ISBN-10: 1843536609
ISBN-13: 978-1843536604

The Lofoten Islands off the North coast of Norway 
Destination Lofoten (entire region´s joint promotional body)

Harry Campbell is a lexicographer working on mostly Spanish and French bilingual dictionaries.  His book Whatever Happened to Tanganyika looks at the changing nature of place names from small villages in the UK to whole countries.  Harry has always been interested in place names and was inspired by old maps.  He is particularly fascinated by the way name changes occurred in the reshuffle in the Balkans and Eastern Europe and finally decided to write a book when a friend said “Whatever happened to Tanganyika?”

Whatever happened to Tanganyika? The Place Names That History Left Behind
Publisher: Portico
ISBN-10: 190603205X
ISBN-13: 978-1906032050

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Sandi ToksvigSandi Toksvig:
The daughter of a foreign correspondent, Sandi has been travelling all her life more info
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