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Free - Adventures on the Margins of a Wasteful Society by Katharine Hibbert

Free - Adventures on the Margins of a Wasteful Society

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Heart in mouth, Katherine Hibbert gives up on the daily round and decides to find out if you can live outside the norm and survive. We have homelessness, we have poverty, we have people unable to afford a nutritious diet, yet there are empty houses, obscene amounts of food thrown away, overflowing skips and a thriving community of people dedicated to living on society’s leftovers. The author charts both the scandal of so much waste and her own attempts to create a new free life living on the margins in a fascinating look at opting out.

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Who is Sue Baker


Free - Adventures on the Margins of a Wasteful Society by Katharine Hibbert

For many the daily grind can feel like a trap - work, gym, drinks, shops, home, bed, work. But what would happen if one day you just jacked it all in, to survive on next to nothing? Katharine Hibbert decided to find out. No job, no rented flat, no shopping, no debit card and no travel pass. Katharine decided to give it all up, to walk the streets with only a backpack and spend a year living off the food, clothes, other goods and accommodation that would otherwise go to waste. It would be year of squatting, scavenging and no spending. Would she survive and if she did would she ever want to go back? The journey takes her on a fascinating trip, from drug-dens to lavish squatted mansions. She has to learn to fend for herself and to trust the generosity of strangers and friends she makes along the way. She falls into a hidden community who teach her how to build a life using the things that others throw away, and finds that life on the margins amounts to so much more than you might think.


A fascinating study which proves that waste is aplenty in our consumer society. * The Independent * Free is part squatting guide, part diary and is loaded with statistics. Sometimes it feels as if Hibbert has counted every Pret A Manger sandwich that ended up in a landfill. Her anger at the waste of consumer society is relentless.Over the past year, we have focused on the fall of the bankers, but Free is a reminder that the recession has had an equally dramatic effect on those several rungs below them on the financial ladder. * The Telegraph * In this account of her varied, and largely positive, experiences, Hibbert paints a detailed and often funny self-portrait of a young Londoner who sneaks fox-like around her city, managing to survive off its detritus for a whole year, affording her the time to appreciate her choices and her relative youth more fully than had she stayed in her cosy, domesticated rut * Times Litarary Supplement * Her book is a passionate plea against the rubbish society. It might not be free, but it's worth reading even if you don't find it in a skip. * ROOF - Shelter's Housing Magazine *

About the Author

Katharine Hibbert is a freelance journalist, who has written cover stories for the Guardian's G2 section and The Sunday Times Magazine as well as contributing regularly to the Culture section, the Times Literary Supplement and the New Statesman. She was nominated for the Young Journalist of the Year award in 2006.

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Book Info

Publication date

14th January 2010


Katharine Hibbert

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Ebury Press


320 pages


The Real World
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eBook Favourites

Material culture
Green lifestyle & self-sufficiency



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