I've just received two lovely pre-publication quote for The Trip to Echo Spring.
"Olivia Laing’s writing is beautifully modulated, her tone knowledgeable yet intimate. She can evoke a state of mind as gracefully as she evokes a landscape. The Trip to Echo Spring is a book for all writers or would-be writers. It's one of the best books I’ve read about the creative uses of adversity: frightening but perversely inspiring." Hilary Mantel
"I loved The Trip to Echo Spring. It's a beautiful book that has stayed with me in a profound way" - Nick Cave.
Finished copies of The Trip to Echo Spring have arrived! It will be published on 1 August. You can pre-order a copy here. Can't wait? There are a few signed preview copies in Heffers in Cambridge.
Recent reviews include Rebecca Solnit's The Faraway Nearby, Sarah Schulman's Gentrification of the Mind, I Remember by Joe Brainard, Here and Now by Paul Auster and J.M. Coetzee, Field Notes From A Hidden City by EstherWoolfson and Sheila Heti's How Should A Person Be.
I've also recently written essays for the Observer on Riot Grrl and for Aeon on the place of plants in our culture, medicine and art. And you can watch my Charleston discussion with Sigrid Rausing and Patrick McGrath on trauma and creativity here.
And a bit of happy news: I was awarded a Travelling Scholarship by the Society of Authors as part of their 2013 Authors' Awards.
I'll be doing various Echo-related events this spring, including Cambridge Wordfest on 13 April, the Aye Write Festival in Glasgow on 19 April, the Lewes Monday Literary Society on 29 April and the wonderful Charleston Festival on 23 May.
I'm also teaching two workshops: Looking, Walking, Remembering at Charleston on 24 May and Landscape Writing at Cambridge Wordfest on 12 April.
My new essay for Aeon on art, sex, loneliness, NYC, David Wojnarowicz and the Hudson river piers is now up here. It's a sneak preview of many of the issues & themes that will crop up in the new book, The Lonely City.
Recent pieces include a column on the month's best books for Prospect, a review of Sara Maitland's Gossip from the Forest in the Observer, and an essay on ash dieback, Hurricane Sandy, M.R. James, giant spiders and ruptured children for the Junket. I also reviewed Cynthia Carr's astonishing biography of David Wojnarowicz, Fire in the Belly, for the Statesman.
To the River has been shortlisted for the Dolman Travel Book Award. I've written about my favourite airport for the Guardian here.
Recent reviews include Pulphead by John Jeremiah Sullivan for the Statesman and Katherine Angel's wonderful Unmastered for the Observer.
I'll be reading from To the River in Belgium on 31 August at Zin in Zomer, an arts festival in Hasselt, and again in Lewes on 26 September.
I'll be reading and discussing landscape with poet Jean Sprackland at the London Review Bookshop on Thursday 28 June. Details and tickets here. On 26 May, I chaired an event at Charleston festival with Ronald Blythe and Robert Macfarlane. We talked about memory, landscape, ghosts and their beautiful new books. You can listen to it here.
To the River has been shortlisted for the 2012 RSL Ondaatje Prize, awarded for a distinguished work of literature evoking the spirit of a place.
I've written a 100th birthday appreciation of John Cheever for the New Statesman, as well as a guide to the South Downs of Eric Ravilious and the Bloomsbury set for the Guardian.
On 30/31 May I'll be teaching a couple of all-day workshops at Charleston Festival on writing and walking, with inspiration and technical tips from Frank O'Hara and Virginia Woolf. Both of these notably original writers used walking – be it city strolls or rural tromps - as ways of stimulating their work, and we'll be looking at Woolf's diaries and O'Hara's lunch poems to see how these fertile strategies might be applied to our own creative productions. Advance booking is recommended as places are very limited.
I'm very happy to announce that I've just been awarded a Sigmund Strochlitz grant from the University of Connecticut to work on Frank O'Hara's letters. I've also recently written another short piece for Teenage, on Two of Us, a 1980s queer-positive film by the BBC.
Finally, 'The Lonely City', my essay on de Chirico, Edward Hopper and aesthetics of loneliness in Manhattan is in the spring edition of The Junket.
I'll be reading from John Berryman's Homage to Mistress Bradstreet at Poetry at Blacks on 10 Jan and from To the River at The Book Stops Here on 13 Feb.
I've just written a short piece about my years as a riot grrrl for my friend Matt Wolf's Teenage project (his film, an adaptation of Jon Savage's book, is out next year). Recent reviews include Jesmyn Ward's National Book Award-winning Salvage the Bones, a biography of the strange friendship between Conan Doyle and Houdini, and a book of the year toast to Wayne Koestenbaum's magnificent Humiliation.
I'm spending autumn in New York, researching The Trip to Echo Spring. A report of my adventures is in the New Statesman. A couple of dates on my return: I'll be reading at Richmond Literature Festival on 25 November and the Festival of Ideas in Bristol on 1 December. I'll also be guest lecturing on Exeter University's Writing, Nature and Place MA on ways of approaching place-specific writing.
On 20 August, I'll be in conversation with James Runcie at the amazing Beyond Borders festival at Traquair House in Scotland, discussing landscape, memory and identity. I'll also be talking to Joan Bakewell about landscape at the Edinburgh International Book Festival on 22 August as part of her Key Ideas of the 21st Century series.
June kicks off with the Telegraph Hay Festival on 3 June and the Yellow-Lighted Festival in the Cotswolds on 4 June. Later in the month, I'll be reading at the Steyning Live Lounge in Sussex on 21 June and the CMP Festival in Brighton on 9 July. I've also written a piece for the Observer magazine about why I spent my early twenties living feral in a bender in the Sussex countryside.
I'll be interviewed by Jenni Murray on Woman's Hour on 27 April. You can listen again here.
First reading of the season is with Leo Benedictus at the i Literary Salon in the Hendrick's Horseless Carriage of Curiosities on Satuday 28 May at 1pm. That's followed by Charleston Festival on 29 May, where I'll be in conversation with Alexandra Harris, author of Romantic Moderns, and the art historian Frances Spalding.
You can read my guide to New York's best literary hotels in Condé Nast Traveller here.
To The River will be published in the Netherlands by De Bezige Bij, also the Dutch publisher of WG Sebald and Virginia Woolf.
I've just been awarded a fellowship at MacDowell, the oldest artists' colony in the United States, to work on my second book, The Trip to Echo Spring. I've also received grants from the Arts Council and the Authors' Foundation to travel around America in the spring of 2011 in the footsteps of Tennessee Williams and Raymond Carver. I'm thrilled by both these opportunities, and extremely grateful for the generosity and support of MacDowell, the Arts Council and the Authors' Foundation.
I've started writing for the New Statesman; reviews include the latest novels by Benjamin Markovits and Nicholas Shakespeare. I've also been recommending spooky summer reads for the Observer, as well as reviewing the brilliant Nicola Barker. And there's a whole slew of other stuff - Nancy Mitford and Michael Chabon among them - here.
Recent reviews include Meg Rosoff, Tobias Wolff, Jane Gardam, William Burroughs and Janice Galloway, not to mention a bizarre history of literary hoaxes. I've also profiled Stephanie Meyer, the squeaky-clean vampire queen, for the Observer, as well as previewing hot books to look out for in 2010.
I'm delighted to announce that the non-fiction book I'm currently working on, Going Under, and my second book, The Trip to Echo Spring, have been bought by Canongate.