Windswept

  • Author Annabel Abbs
  • Narrator Fenella Fudge
  • Publisher John Murray Press
  • Run Time 11 hours and 18 minutes
  • Format Audio
  • Genre Travel writing.

Listen to a sample

What to expect

A feminist exploration of the power of walking in nature, following in the footsteps of Gwen John, Georgia O’Keeffe, Frieda Lawrence, Clara Vyvyan, Simone de Beauvoir and Nan Shepherd.

The story of extraordinary women who lost their way – their sense of self, their identity, their freedom – and found it again through walking in the wild. A feminist exploration of the power of walking in nature, following in the footsteps of Gwen John, Georgia O’Keeffe, Frieda Lawrence, Clara Vyvyan, Simone de Beauvoir, Daphne Du Maurier and Nan Shepherd.

For centuries, the wilds have been male territory, while women sat safely confined at home. But not all women did as they were told, despite the dangers; history is littered with women for whom rural walking became inspiration, consolation and liberation.

In this powerful and deeply inspiring book, Annabel Abbs uncovers women who refused to conform, who recognised a biological, emotional and artistic need for wilderness, water and desert – and who took the courageous step of walking unpeopled and often forbidding landscapes.

Part wild-walk, part memoir, Windswept follows an exhilarating journey from Abbs’ isolated car-less childhood to her walking the remote paths trodden by extraordinary women including Georgia O’Keeffe in the empty plains of Texas and New Mexico, Nan Shepherd in the mountains of Scotland, Gwen John following the Garonne, Simone de Beauvoir in the mountains and forests of France and Daphne du Maurier following the River Rhone.

A single question pulses through their walks: How does a woman change once she becomes windswept?

(P) 2021 Hodder & Stoughton Ltd

Critics Review

  • *Praise for Annabel Abbs*

  • Abbs has a healthy disregard for the “great man” theory of literary history… With a fine eye for period detail, Abbs confirms her standing as one of the best historical novelists today.

    Observer
  • *Praise for WINDSWEPT*

  • A gorgeous and revelatory blend of memoir, travelogue, and long-forgotten history, Annabel Abbs’s Windswept tells the stories of six extraordinary women and their intertwining journeys-one accomplished by foot and the other by the mind and heart. Abbs is a witty and engaging guide, seamlessly weaving her own experience with those of her “walking women,” all of whom discovered that the simple act of taking one step at a time can be the most powerful-and defiant-of all.

    Abbott Kahler, New York Times bestselling author of The Ghosts of Eden Park
  • Amazing… lovely, haunting, inspiring and so well done.

    Professor Amy Von Lintel, author of The Wartime Texas Letters of Georgia O'Keeffe, and Georgia O'Keeffe Watercolours.
  • A triumph … I felt as though I were being lifted, carried up to peaks.

    Charlotte Peacock, author of Into the Mountain: A Life of Nan Shepherd

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