Winner of the Wainwright Prize for Nature Writing 2016
When Amy Liptrot returns to Orkney after more than a decade away, she is drawn back to the Outrun on the sheep farm where she grew up. Approaching the land that was once home, memories of her childhood merge with the recent events that have set her on this journey.
Amy was shaped by the cycle of the seasons, birth and death on the farm, and her father’s mental illness, which were as much a part of her childhood as the wild, carefree existence on Orkney. But as she grew up, she longed to leave this remote life. She moved to London and found herself in a hedonistic cycle. Unable to control her drinking, alcohol gradually took over. Now thirty, she finds herself washed up back home on Orkney, standing unstable at the cliff edge, trying to come to terms with what happened to her in London.
Spending early mornings swimming in the bracingly cold sea, the days tracking Orkney’s wildlife – puffins nesting on sea stacks, arctic terns swooping close enough to feel their wings – and nights searching the sky for the Merry Dancers, Amy slowly makes the journey towards recovery from addiction.
The Outrun is a beautiful, inspiring book about living on the edge, about the pull between island and city, and about the ability of the sea, the land, the wind and the moon to restore life and renew hope.
‘A painfully honest look in a broken mirror, this memoir is intensely unsettling but also deeply peaceful’ Damian Barr
The Green Notebook
It might be irresponsible to recommend Louise Fitzhugh’s Harriet the Spy (1964) to youngsters today, with its sulky, unrepentant heroine who snoops on neighbours and whose notebook entries result...Read more