Anyone who reads The Outrun will immediately be struck by how personal Amy Liptrot’s writing feels; it is almost as if she is telling her story to you and only you. The event was opened with Amy reading an extract from her book, which instantly gave me that same feeling, but tenfold.
As a memoir, it naturally reveals so much about an author’s whole life, without the safety of characters to hide behind: a fact which a member of the audience highlighted in the question and answer portion of the evening. Amy didn’t shy away from any topic, being open and eloquent in all of her answers: which is reflective of her narrative in the book.
To have her speak to us so directly about her experiences with alcoholism, rehabilitation, and the family’s mental health, was highly emotional, and kept the entire audience in a state of rapture as she spoke. Despite touching on such heavy subjects, she somehow managed to make the whole room break into laughter, resulting in an event that felt more like a chat with a friend over coffee than a formal interview of any kind.
In her conversation with William Fiennes, she spoke about such a broad array of topics, from the relationship of the Internet and nature, to the actual writing process of her memoir. Personally, I found it so intriguing to discover the role of nature, solitude, childhood memories, and Orkney itself, in her recovery; particularly how, in her view, it was a combination of all these things that helped her alcoholism recede, rather than a single factor.
An hour of her time only scraped the surface of what this fantastic author has to say; I left the talk with new ideas about recovery, technology and nature, whilst also eagerly anticipating her next publication, whatever it may be.