Author(s): Amy Liptrot
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 remarkable memoir that marks the arrival of a significant new voice in nature writing
Shortlisted for Wainwright Prize 2016.
* The Outrun is an astonishingly beautiful book. Amy makes most nature writing seem flat and pedestrian. Her account of her addiction and recovery is electric, sexy, immediate and raw, leaving the reader reeling in her wake. And yet she's also elegant, thoughtful and controlled. I'm struck too by her ability to make links between her own experience and the larger landscapes she inhabits, from London Fields to the Orkney islands. And yet despite this attentiveness to place, there's nothing parochial about her vision. This is a luminous, life-affirming book, and I have no doubt that I'll be pressing it into people's hands for years to come -- OLIVIA LAING
Amy Liptrot has published her work with various magazines, journals and blogs and she has written a regular column for Caught by the River out of which The Outrun has emerged. As well as writing for local newspaper, Orkney Today, and editing the Edinburgh Student newspaper, Amy has worked as an artist's model, a trampolinist and in a shellfish factory. This is her first book.