Photograph of Linda Cracknell by David Konečný

Linda Cracknell (photo by David Konečný)

Linda Cracknell is a writer of fiction and creative non-fiction. She is also a walker, often travelling alone, sometimes in remote landscapes where a solitary woman may provoke comment. Her writing and walking are intimately connected.

The title of her talk will be Walking in Circles: Making Stories out of Landscapes.” Using the example of her novel, Call of The Undertow, published in 2013, she will talk about how repeated walks in a new place rich with possibility resulted in a fictional narrative out of observation and sensation. She will also draw on her non-fiction book, Doubling Back: Ten Paths Trodden in Memory, a book described as a combination of ‘memoir, travelogue and literary meditation’, inspired by re-treading former journeys on foot taken by herself or by others.

Both books have involved a ‘multiple gaze’ across nature, social history, communities and inner lives, and share some creative methods. In both she’s attracted to liminal worlds, exploration and often to women who challenge boundaries. Motion is necessary to this writer’s imaginative writing, but in Doubling Back, the motion has itself become the subject. For the writer, the craft is similar but fiction feels a greater transformation of the material. For the reader, which kind of text provides a more visceral experience of having travelled herself, and is it necessary for the reader to be a walker in order to fully engage with accounts of journeys on foot?

Linda Cracknell is a writer of fiction, non-fiction and occasional radio drama as well as a self-employed teacher, mentor and facilitator of creative writing in various settings which have included a children’s hospital and the former home of poet Hugh MacDiarmid. Landscape (cultural and physical), place and memory are key themes in her work. Her last two published books (Freight Books, 2013 & 2014) have been a novel, Call of the Undertow, about a cartographer working in isolation in Caithness, and Doubling Back: Ten paths trodden in memory, an account of a series of walks, each of which follow a story from the past. Linda lives in Highland Perthshire in Scotland.