Swimming with Seals

Author(s): Victoria Whitworth

Biography & Memoir

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.


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'An extraordinary book' --TLS.

'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.

'She writes beautifully of selkies and mermaids' --Guardian.

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

'Absorbing and thrilling' --Ella Foote, Outdoor Swimming.

'Intelligent, wide-reaching memoir ... somehow refreshing, and calming, even in its introspection' The Bookseller. 'A tale of redemption through nature and water's powerful ability to heal' --Outdoor Photography.

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

'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.

'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.

'Wonderfully evocative ... fascinating' --The Scotsman.

'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.

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

Victoria Whitworth lives by the sea in Edinburgh. She is a novelist and academic who explores the culture and society of Britain in the Early Middle Ages, focusing on death, burial and memory.

General Fields

  • : 9781784978396
  • : Head of Zeus
  • : Head of Zeus
  • : November 2017
  • : United Kingdom
  • : January 2018
  • : books

Special Fields

  • : Victoria Whitworth
  • : Paperback
  • : 941.13208092
  • : 304