Olivia Laing's first book, To the River, was described as 'sublime' by the Times, 'magical' by the Telegraph and 'deeply intelligent' by the Literary Review. It was a book of the year in the Evening Standard, Independent and Financial Times and was shortlisted for the Royal Society of Literature Ondaatje Prize and the Dolman Travel Book of the Year. Olivia is the former Deputy Books Editor of the Observer and writes for a variety of publications, including the Observer, New Statesman, Guardian and Times Literary Supplement. She's a 2011 MacDowell Fellow, and has received awards from the Arts Council and the Authors' Foundation.
Shortlisted for the Costa Biography Award 2013. Why is it that some of the greatest works of literature have been produced by writers in the grip of alcoholism, an addiction that cost them personal happiness and caused harm to those who loved them? In The Trip to Echo Spring , Olivia Laing examines the link between creativity and alcohol through the work and lives of six extraordinary men: F. Scott Fitzgerald, Ernest Hemingway, Tennessee Williams, John Berryman, John Cheever and Raymond Carver. All six of these writers were alcoholics, and the subject of drinking surfaces in some of their finest work, from Cat on a Hot Tin Roof to A Moveable Feast . Often they did their drinking together - Hemingway and Fitzgerald ricocheting through the cafes of 1920s Paris; Carver and Cheever speeding to the liquor store in Iowa in the icy winter of 1973. Olivia Laing grew up in an alcoholic family herself. One spring, wanting to make sense of this ferocious, entangling disease, she took a journey across America that plunged her into the heart of these overlapping lives. As she travels from Cheever's New York to Williams' New Orleans, from Hemingway's Key West to Carver's Port Angeles, she pieces together a topographical map of alcoholism, from the horrors of addiction to the miraculous possibilities of recovery.
She had no idea what to do with love, she experienced it as invasion, as the prelude to loss and pain, she really didn't have a clue. Kathy is a writer. Kathy is getting married. It's the summer of 2017 and the whole world is falling apart. Fast-paced and frantic, Crudo unfolds in real time from the full-throttle perspective of a commitment-phobic artist who may or may not be Kathy Acker. From a Tuscan hotel for the superrich to a Brexit-paralyzed United Kingdom, Kathy spends the first summer of her forties adjusting to the idea of a lifelong commitment. But it's not only Kathy who's changing. Fascism is on the rise, truth is dead, the planet is heating up, and Trump is tweeting the world ever-closer to nuclear war. How do you make art, let alone a life, when one rogue tweet could end it all? In Crudo, her first work of fiction, Olivia Laing radically rewires the novel with a fierce, compassionate account of learning to love when the end of the world seems near.
A Sunday Times Top Ten Bestseller Shortlisted for the Gordon Burns Prize Kathy is a writer. Kathy is getting married. It's the summer of 2017 and the whole world is falling apart. From a Tuscan hotel for the super-rich to a Brexit-paralysed UK, Kathy spends the first summer of her 40s trying to adjust to making a lifelong commitment just as Trump is tweeting the world into nuclear war. But it's not only Kathy who's changing. Political, social and natural landscapes are all in peril. Fascism is on the rise, truth is dead, the planet is hotting up. Is it really worth learning to love when the end of the world is nigh? And how do you make art, let alone a life, when one rogue tweet could end it all. Olivia Laing radically rewires the novel in a brilliant, funny and emphatically raw account of love in the apocalypse. A Goodbye to Berlin for the 21st century, Crudo charts in real time what it was like to live and love in the horrifying summer of 2017, from the perspective of a commitment-phobic peripatetic artist who may or may not be Kathy Acker . . .
Why were so many authors of the greatest works of literature consumed by alcoholism? In The Trip to Echo Spring, Olivia Laing takes a journey across America, examining the links between creativity and drink in the overlapping work and lives of six extraordinary men: F. Scott Fitzgerald, Ernest Hemingway, Tennessee Williams, John Berryman, John Cheever and Raymond Carver. From Hemingway's Key West to Williams's New Orleans, Laing pieces together a topographical map of alcoholism, and strips away the tangle of mythology to reveal the terrible price creativity can exert.
Over sixty years after Virginia Woolf drowned in the River Ouse, Olivia Laing set out one midsummer morning to walk its banks, from source to sea. Along the way, she explores the roles that rivers play in human lives, tracing their intricate flow through literature, mythology and folklore. Lyrical and stirring, To the River is a passionate investigation into how history resides in a landscape - and how ghosts never quite leave the places they love.
SHORTLISTED FOR THE 2016 GORDON BURN PRIZE CHOSEN AS 'BOOK OF THE YEAR' BY Observer Guardian Telegraph Irish Times New Statesman Times Literary Supplement Herald When Olivia Laing moved to New York City in her mid-thirties, she found herself inhabiting loneliness on a daily basis. Increasingly fascinated by this most shameful of experiences, she began to explore the lonely city by way of art. Moving fluidly between the works and lives of some of the city's most compelling artists, Laing conducts an electric, dazzling investigation into what it means to be alone, illuminating not only the causes of loneliness but also how it might be resisted and redeemed.