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About the Author: Olivia Laing

Olivia Laing is a writer and critic. Her first book, To the River (2011) is the story of a midsummer journey down the river Virginia Woolf drowned in. It was a book of the year in the Evening Standard, Independent and Financial Times and was shortlisted for the 2012 Ondaatje Prize and the Dolman Travel Book of the Year.

Her second, The Trip to Echo Spring (2013), explores the liquid links between writers and alcohol. Hilary Mantel described it as 'one of the best books I've read on the creative uses of adversity'. It was shortlisted for the Costa Biography Prize and the Gordon Burn Prize, and was a book of the year in the New York Times, Time, Observer, Times, Economist and Statesman.

Her new book, The Lonely City (2016), is an investigation into loneliness by way of art, including Andy Warhol, Edward Hopper and David Wojnarowicz. Peter Carey described it as "continually unexpected, stimulating and beautifully structured."

Laing has been the deputy books editor of the Observer, and writes for The Guardian, New York Times, Frieze and New Statesman among other publications. She is a MacDowell and Yaddo Fellow, was 2014 Eccles Writer in Residence at the British Library.and has received grants from the Arts Council and the Authors’ Foundation. She lives in Cambridge, England.

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On Writers and Drinking by

Goodreads rating: 3.62

, by Canongate Books Ltd

ISBN10: 1847677959 | ISBN13: 9781847677952

Why is it that some of the greatest works of literature have been produced by writers in the grip of alcoholism, an addiction that cost them personal happiness and caused harm to those who loved them? In The Trip to Echo Spring, Olivia Laing examines the link between creativity and alcohol through the work and lives of six extraordinary men: F. Scott Fitzgerald, Ernest Hemingway, Tennessee Williams, John Berryman, John Cheever and Raymond Carver.

All six of these writers were alcoholics, and the subject of drinking surfaces in some of their finest work, from Cat on a Hot Tin Roof to A Moveable Feast. Often they did their drinking together - Hemingway and Fitzgerald ricocheting through the cafés of 1920s Paris; Carver and Cheever speeding to the liquor store in Iowa in the icy winter of 1973.

Olivia Laing grew up in an alcoholic family herself. One spring, wanting to make sense of this ferocious, entangling disease, she took a journey across America that plunged her into the heart of these overlapping lives. As she travels from Cheever's New York to Williams' New Orleans, from Hemingway's Key West to Carver's Port Angeles, she pieces together a topographical map of alcoholism, from the horrors of addiction to the miraculous possibilities of recovery. Beautiful, captivating and original, The Trip to Echo Spring strips away the myth of the alcoholic writer to reveal the terrible price creativity can exert.

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