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225 × 147 × 30 mm
304 pages
14 Sep 2020

Wanderers A History of Women Walking Kerri Andrews

This is a book about ten women over the past three hundred years who have found walking essential to their sense of themselves, as people and as writers.

Wanderers traces their footsteps, from eighteenth-century parson’s daughter Elizabeth Carter – who desired nothing more than to be taken for a vagabond in the wilds of southern England – to modern walker-writers such as Nan Shepherd and Cheryl Strayed. For each, walking was integral, whether it was rambling for miles across the Highlands, like Sarah Stoddart Hazlitt, or pacing novels into being, as Virginia Woolf did around Bloomsbury.

Offering a beguiling view of the history of walking, Wanderers guides us through the different ways of seeing – of being – articulated by these ten pathfinding women.

‘Andrews features a wonderful cast of characters . . . It still feels somehow radical to talk about women ramblers and flâneuses; the sensitive, well-researched portraits in Wanderers rightly begin to redress the balance.’ — The Idler

‘The reader of Kerri Andrew's Wanderers: A History of Women Walking laces her boots and strikes out with ten women who walked, wrote and wrote about walking . . . there are some lovely vignettes . . . The book is at its best when imaginatively recreating the sole-tiring, soul-stirring, stomping simplicity of walking alone. Then the reader shares the rapture of Virginia Woolf's cry: "Oh the joy of walking!"’ — Laura Freeman, The Critic

‘Think of famous walkers and it's men like Wordsworth and Keats who likely spring to mind. But that's only half the story: here Andrews fills in the blanks with a history of women walkers of the last 300 years.’ — Country Walking Magazine

‘This book not only brings to light some women who walked and have been hidden in the shadows, but inspires us to consider our own reasons for walking and what we get from it. Kerri brings her own experiences and connections with the women she introduces in the book into each chapter, and her own love of walking shines through . . . If I hadn't read this book already, it would be on my wish list this Christmas!’ — Scottish Mountaineer

‘Historically, women were consigned to domestic tasks that hemmed them in. For a woman to walk as freely as a man was a radical act and fraught with potential danger. Here Andrews turns a scholarly eye on ten women throughout history, most of whom lived in Great Britain, who walked or, rather, hiked long distances. . . . Andrews interacts with each walker by either tracing similar paths herself or reflecting upon those paths' significance.’ — Booklist

‘In Wanderers, the reader finds him or herself in excellent company. We accompany literary legends such as Virginia Woolf and Dorothy Wordsworth as well as less well known, but equally exceptional, figures such as Ellen Weeton and Sarah Stoddard Hazlitt as they stride out through the landscapes that inspired and sustained them . . . Although Wanderers does show its readers that there have, historically, been barriers to women’s freedom to walk, its great achievement is to remind us of the prize worth challenging convention and facing those risks, that the freedom to walk is.’ — The Pilgrim

‘In giving voice to female walker-writers, Wanderers fills out some big blanks in the history of walking, from an 18th Century pioneer to walkers of the present day . . . In Andrews' sensitive portrayals there's a sense of identification with her subjects. This may be as close as you'll get to the inside of Nan Shepherd's head - and that seems like an interesting place to be.’ — 'Top Picks of 2020' UKHillwalking.com

‘A wild portrayal of the passion and spirit of female walkers and the deep sense of "knowing" that they found along the path.’ — Raynor Winn, author of 'The Salt Path'

‘For centuries, women have walked for freedom, pleasure, identity and solace: they have walked-for-their-lives. Kerri Andrews’s remarkable history of these wanderers is timely and exciting. Enchanted by Andrews’s accessible, engaging, rigorous work, I opened this book and instantly found that I was part of a conversation I didn’t want to leave. A dazzling, inspirational history.’ — Helen Mort, author of 'No Map Could Show Them'

‘The remarkable women in Wanderers walk in the face of restrictive corsets and crinolines, the demands of motherhood, nay-saying medical advice, and an ever-present fear of male violence. When we picture a walker, it is usually a man, alone on a mountain summit. But Andrews opens up a very different and vastly more expansive vista, in which “the history of walking has always been women’s history”, and every present-day walker, male and female, should be grateful to her.’ — Rachel Hewitt, author of 'Map of a Nation'

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Kerri Andrews is Senior Lecturer in English Literature at Edge Hill University. She has published widely on women’s writing, especially Romantic-era authors, and is a keen hill-walker and member of Mountaineering Scotland.

Setting Off

Chapter 1: Elizabeth Carter
Chapter 2: Dorothy Wordsworth
Chapter 3: Ellen Weeton
Chapter 4: Sarah Stoddart Hazlitt
Chapter 5: Harriet Martineau
Chapter 6: Virginia Woolf
Chapter 7: Nan Shepherd
Chapter 8: Anaïs Nin
Chapter 9: Cheryl Strayed
Chapter 10: Linda Cracknell and a Female Tradition

Further Reading