Four years after she loses her younger brother to cancer, Freya Bromley is still grieving, and still trying to make sense of her loss. Always a keen swimmer, she challenges herself to swim every tidal pool in Britain in a year, a way to fill the empty space her brother’s death has left behind. Setting out from London with her friend Miri, Freya journeys from Cornwall to Caithness, Swansea to Somerset, criss-crossing the country on what becomes a journey of self-discovery as well as a search for respite and refuge. Rather than taking her further away from the loss of her brother, Bromley discovers that the further she swims, the closer she draws her memories of him to herself.

Honest and intimate, The Tidal Year is a thoughtful book that resists categorisation as a grief or swimming memoir. Instead, Bromley has written movingly, and with humour, about the resilience of both humans and the natural world.

A love letter to family, female friendship as well as the power of swimming wild, Bromley documents the ways in which grief can seep into every corner of life but also how swimming in nature creates space inside us for hope and reconnection with ourselves and others.

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Freya Bromley is a writer, wild swimmer and podcaster. She lives in London, just a short cycle from Brockwell Lido. On her podcast, The Tidal Year, Freya discovers the human stories behind why we swim. Freya is currently studying on the Creative Writing Master of Studies at Cambridge University. The Tidal Year is her first book.

Photography © Aashfaria A. Anwar

‘An honest, open and, in places, darkly comic look at grief, and how one woman’s loss led to a UK-wide, coastline adventure.’

2023 Non-Fiction judges

Ben Garrod

Sarfraz Manzoor

Helen Stanton

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