Boston University’s MFA program offers students a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to travel anywhere in the world for the purpose of working on their writing. British-born aspiring writer Nell Stevens uses that opportunity to travel to the Falkland Islands, near where South America ends and the Antarctic region begins. She believes the solitude and austere, unspoiled beauty of the area will help her concentrate and allow her to fulfill her goal of returning to civilization with a finished novel. The reality of life on the aptly-named Bleaker Island is very different from her fantasies. Like Cheryl Strayed in Wild, Ms. Stevens finds that she is ill-prepared for the trip in terms of provisions, and she must contend with cold and hunger as well as isolation. The act of writing in such extreme circumstances proves challenging as well.
I really enjoyed Bleaker House. Ms. Stevens is an appealing character in her own tale, and this memoir is filled with cogent observations on the writing life. Highly recommended for all writers, writers-to-be, and anyone else who has ever wished to leave it all behind and just concentrate on one project. Find it in our catalog here.