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Head of Zeus
Swimming with Seals
20 Apr 2017 * EBOOK * £5.99 * 9781784978365

A book about intense physical and personal experience, narrating how Victoria Whitworth began swimming in the cold waters of Orkney as a means of escaping a failing marriage.

Non Fiction / BGA (Biography)
Extent: 304 pages
Exclusive: GB CA AU NZ IN ZA SG US
Also by Victoria Whitworth
Swimming with Sealsby Victoria Whitworth

Shortlisted for the PEN Ackerley Prize 2018.

This is a memoir of intense physical and personal experience, exploring how swimming with seals, gulls and orcas in the cold waters off Orkney provided Victoria Whitworth with an escape from a series of life crises and helped her to deal with intolerable loss.

It is also a treasure chest of history and myth, local folklore and archaeological clues, giving us tantalising glimpses of Pictish and Viking men and women, those people lost to history, whose long-hidden secrets are sometimes yielded up by the land and sea.

Victoria Whitworth is a novelist and academic who explores the culture and society of Britain in the Early Middle Ages, focusing on death, burial and memory. She is the author of Dying and Death in Later Anglo-Saxon England (as Victoria Thompson); The Bone Thief and The Traitors' Pit (as V.M. Whitworth); and Daughter of the Wolf.

Shortlisted for the PEN Ackerley Award 2018.

A moving account of depression and the restorative power of the sea.

Victoria channels her knowledge as a historian and her understanding of the land around her into beautiful nature writing.

MARKET: Wild; Elizabeth Gilbert; The Outrun - Amy Liptrot.


'There's no shortage of books about wild swimming ... Perhaps the most intriguing of the lot is Swimming with Seals' Scotland on Sunday

'Wonderfully evocative ... Fascinating ... The writing is consistently alert and engaging' Scotsman

'Attentive, astute and beautiful ... I adored it' Amy Liptrot, author of The Outrun

'I finished this book wanting to find a cold lido, or jump into a lake, or walk into the cold sea and stay there for as long as I could stand it, and then do it again' Guardian

'Each little "dreamlike postcard" in this captivating book takes you deeper into the world novelist Victoria Whitworth experienced as a sea-swimmer in the wild waters of Orkney'' Sainsbury's Magazine

'The author's descriptions of the coastline in Orkney and the savannah in Kenya, where she spent some of her childhood, are sharp and original ... enjoy wallowing in the richness of her theological, philosophical and literary knowledge' The National

'An eloquent celebration of swimming in the cold waters of Orkney and a fascinating memoir' Half Man Half Book

'A tale of redemption through nature and water's powerful ability to heal' Outdoor Photography

'Intelligent, wide-reaching memoir ... somehow refreshing, and calming, even in its introspection' The Bookseller

'Absorbing and thrilling' Ella Foote, Outdoor Swimming

'The first thing that hooked me into this story was the sea ... An unusual [memoir]' Evening Standard

'She writes beautifully of selkies and mermaids' Guardian

'This isn't really a book about swimming at all, but a book about how we are controlled by the voices of the dead; about how the whole of life is necessarily a seance. That's a humbling perspective' Five Books

'An extraordinary book' TLS

'An intensely painful and personal memoir ... This tapestry of myth, folklore and history, woven alongside her own story, imbues it with extra meaning and emotion. You'll be raring to jump into the freezing cold sea after reading this' Scotland Magazine

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