The Hard Way

By Susannah Walker

An absorbing nature memoir that uncovers the lives of women walking away from home.

Friday, 5 May 2023

On writing and being written

I asked the lovely people at Unbound, what sort of things do people want to read about in these updates?

Oh, they said, talking about how the writing of the book is getting on is always good, people like that.

So here I am.  But there will only ever be one of this kind of update, because The Hard Way is written.  The walks are all walked and the words are all considered and finished and the whole thing is sitting on my computer waiting for the funding to reach 100%, at which point it can get whisked into the production process.

Now while this does deprive everyone of scenes the work-in-progress (and I am prepared to pretend if people really want them), I think this is good news overall.  Mostly because it means that once we have enough pledges, the book is ready to go and will be with you all relatively quickly.

But the other reason it's good, is because it means that we - by which I mean both me and Unbound - have been able to send it out to other authors to get their reactions.  They're being collected for a brochure to promote the book, which is the next stage of the pledging process.  I'll write about that properly when it's out, but in the meantime this is what Andrew Ziminski, author of The Stonemason (an excellent book, hearty recommend) said.

"The rolling downland and old chalk ways of Southern England have long been the inspirational haunt of writers and artists from Hilare Belloc to Thomas Hardy and Richard Jeffries. This South Country became particularly synonymous in the first half of the C20th with the work of Edward Thomas, Paul Nash, Eric Ravilious as well as Johns' Piper and Betjeman. They are all well known, unlike their wives, all intelligent, fascinating and undervalued women, who put aside their own potential and often successful careers to keep house and raise children while their husbands walked, wrote, mused and painted. These were women whose "creativity was stopped by simply living with another artist"

Susannah Walker explores their lives and the work of other female artists and writers such as Ella Noyes, a contemporary and equal to Edward Thomas, whose writing deserves to better known as she takes the reader on a deep dive through this landscape by exploring the ancient roads that traverse this world and discovered that "The spirit of England does not respect women, nor even like them very much".

If you want to know a bit more than this, I've been putting some small stories from the book as illustrated threads on Twitter, so do take a look - I am @QuadRoyal.

Thank you again for subscribing and please do tell other people about the book and then we can all see a finished copy as soon as is humanly possible.



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Monica Dunkley
 Monica Dunkley says:

Hi Susannah, my pledge is in and I can't wait to read the book. I wrote my English Lit. dissertation on women/walkin/nature... and I'm really interested in the subject. (Helen Thomas's books were also the subject on another of one of essays). So many female walkers are still new to me and I really want to know and read more about them and from them.
Looking forward to the publication!

posted 5th May 2023

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