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Author Archive: "Olivia Laing"

Powell’s Q&A: Olivia Laing

Describe your latest book.
The Trip to Echo Spring is an investigation into the liquid links between writers and alcohol, examining the relationship between creativity and drinking through the work and lives of six extraordinary men: F. Scott Fitzgerald, Ernest Hemingway, Tennessee Williams, John Berryman, John Cheever, and Raymond Carver.

I grew up in an alcoholic family myself and was deeply suspicious of the heroic myth of the hard-drinking author. One spring, wanting to make sense of this ferocious, entangling disease, I took a journey across America, travelling from Cheever's New York to Williams's New Orleans, from Hemingway's Key West to Carver's Port Angeles. As I travelled across the country, I began to piece together a topographical map of alcoholism, from the horrors of addiction to the miraculous possibilities of recovery.

A combination of biography, travelogue, memoir, and literary criticism, The Trip to Echo Spring strips away the myth of the alcoholic writer to reveal the terrible price that creativity can exert.

My first book, To the River, is the story of the Ouse, the English river in which Virginia Woolf drowned ...

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