The Cure for Sleep (Weidenfeld & Nicolson: Feb 2022)
‘Tanya’s book has the quality of a fable that teaches us how to live, how to step out of the confines we have made for ourselves, how to wake up.” Lettice Franklin, Weidenfeld & Nicolson
‘Tanya has that very rare combination of stillness and energy. Her stories captivated me instantly and her experimentation with style and genre impressed me greatly.‘ Agent Robert Caskie
Just days into motherhood, a woman begins dying. Fast and without warning.
On return from near-death – shaken awake by wild regret – Tanya Shadrick vows to stop sleepwalking through her life. To live with more courage, like the characters in the fairy tales she loved as a small girl, before loss and fear had her retreat into routine and daydreams.
Around the care of young children, she starts to play with the shape and scale of her days: to stray from the path, get lost in the woods, make bargains with strangers. As she moves beyond her respectable roles as worker, wife and mother in a small town, Tanya learns what it takes – and costs – to break the spell of longing for love, approval, safety, rescue.
The Cure for Sleep is a story with the quality of fable: inviting us, however late in life, to wake up and step out of the confines we have made for ourselves.
‘Beautiful, ballsy, invigorating. Brave & daring. Anyone who thinks Roger Deakin was wild will need to recalibrate.’ Kate Rew, Outdoor Swimming Society
‘Vital, poignant, glorious.’ Coast
‘There are stories in here that have the pacing of a good thriller… Of course you know she survives this one but the adrenaline!’ Jenny Landreth, author of Swell
Set on Dartmoor and the Devon coasts, this book – longlisted for the 2019 Wainwright Prize – records the adventures of visionary wild swimmer and west country paramedic Lynne Roper. For five years, between surviving breast cancer and dying of a brain tumour in 2016, Lynne took daily swims in tors, ponds, rivers and reservoirs (sometimes in boisterous company; often alone, in quiet communion with nature).
Wild Woman Swimming has an extraordinary backstory, representing a promise made by Selkie Press founder Tanya Shadrick – a stranger to Lynne – at a single meeting in the month before her death. Tanya, a former hospice scribe and writer of the outside, recognised the power of her fellow west country woman’s writing about the natural world (and the close-knit communities that form when people gather together in our countryside) and committed to editing her work.
Buy your copy of Wild Woman Swimming here – direct from The Selkie Press – for £8.99 (+ 1.50 P&P) or order from any online bookseller or your local bookstore
Watermarks: Writing by Lido Lovers & Wild Swimmers (The Frogmore Press: 2017)
An anthology of prose and poetry to celebrate swimming in the world’s lakes, rivers, seas and lidos. Co-edited by Tanya Shadrick and Rachel Playforth. Published by The Frogmore Press. An Outdoor Swimming Society recommended read.