Deception Island

Published by Sam Ruddock on

Step inside an exact replica of an Antarctic hut and be transported to Deception Island, a tiny caldera in the Antarctic Ocean. Battered by the fiercest seas in the world and shaken by volcanic activity. Here the rusting remains of industrial whaling and a seabed littered with whalebones testify to mankind’s greed and brutality. But the island is also an outpost of scientific exploration, a witness to human attentiveness and fortitude.  

This brand-new poetry installation from Story Machine and Elizabeth Lewis Williams will summon a remote frontier where climate and months of winter darkness impose a kind of perpetual lockdown. 

As the ship carrying the author’s father edges through the basalt cliffs into the calmer waters of Deception Island, the island’s many voices, human and non-human, begin to speak.

Prepare to embark on an immersive poetry, sound and film expedition like nothing you have been on before.

Deception Island is presented by Story Machine in collaboration with Elizabeth Lewis Williams. It is delivered in partnership with British Antarctic Survey, UK Antarctic Heritage Trust, and Norwich Science Festival. It is funded by Arts Council England.

Supported Using

The Reclus Hut at Portal Point

We are working with conservation carpenter and heritage project expert Geoff Cooper to construct an exact replica of the Reclus Hut at Portal Point (photo below). Geoff is an expert in historic restoration and has worked with both the New Zealand and UK Antarctic Heritage Trusts.


Deception Island Creative Team

Written by Elizabeth Lewis Williams
Produced by Sam Ruddock and Elizabeth Lewis Williams
Sound Design by Jenni Pinnock
Film by Mark Hannant
Hut built by Geoff Cooper
Archive material provided by British Antarctic Survey


About Elizabeth Lewis Williams

Elizabeth Lewis Williams is a Norwich based writer and poet. She recently completed an MA and a PhD in Creative Writing at the UEA, and is currently working on a book of creative non-fiction with the working title ‘Antarctic Identities’.

A pamphlet of Deception Island will be published by Story Machine in Autumn 2021.


See Deception Island

Deception Island will premiere at Norwich Science Festival in October 2021. More information will be released soon.