Victoria Bennett/Wild Women Press

Wild Women Writers' Salons 

October 2023 - November 2024

Curated and hosted by author, Victoria Bennett (All My Wild Mothers), the Wild Women Writers’ Salons offer a welcoming and inspiring space for authors of memoirs and creative non-fiction to take a deep-dive into their writing journeys.

The salons will run on the last Thursday of every month. In order to increase access for authors and audience, these will include some day (1 - 2.30pm BST/GMT) and some evening events (7 - 8.30pm BST/GMT), all the way until November 2024. All events are recorded and a link will be available after the salon to ticket holders.

Here’s a sneak peek of what you can expect:

Dive deep into the world of words.

Hear authors share from their works.

Get a behind-the-scenes look at the creative process.

Real talk about publishing highs and lows.

Engage in some heart-to-heart during the Q&A session.

Each salon will feature three or more amazing guest women writers from across the globe -- and what a fantastic line-up of wild women writers we have for you!


To make sure the salons are affordable, we've made salon tickets available as a Pay What You Can donation. As Wild Women Press is unfunded and does not receive sponsorship, this is being made possible through the generosity of all those involved, contributing their time and creativity to make it happen. The more you are able to donate for your ticket, the more we can pay and value the people who make the salons possible - from the authors to those working behind the scenes. Please help spread the joy and donate as generously as you can. 


The newsletter is free to subscribe BUT upgrading to paid subscription (£6 per month/£60 annual) helps support the hours and hours of work it takes to make the salons happen. In return, you get access to monthly exclusive extras, including behind-the-scenes interviews, writing tips, prompts, links to salon recordings and some extra lovely surprises along the way. 

Buy Me A Coffee

If you would like a different way to support the Wild Women Writers' Salons, you can also 'Buy Me A Coffee'. Your coffees go towards helping support the work it takes to keep Wild Women Press running.

Remember, your ticket donations, paid subscriptions, and 'coffees' enable us to keep the salons going, and value and pay the amazing people involved. 

Wild Women Writers’ Salon 4
Thursday 29th February 1 - 2.30pm GMT

A Wild and Necessary Silence: pilgrimage, hermitage and the creativity of solitude

With guest authors Gail Simmons,
Jade Angeles Fitton & Phoebe Smith

Join us for Salon 4 as we take a deep dive into the creativity of solitude from pilgrimage to hermitage, exploring the relationship between silence, solitude and the creative path. Hosted by Victoria Bennett, with authors Gail Simmons (Between the Chalk and the Sea: a journey on foot into the past), Jade Angeles Fitton (Hermit: a memoir of finding freedom in a wild place ) and Phoebe Smith (Wayfarer: Love, loss and life on Britain’s ancient paths).

Between the Chalk and the Sea

After a peripatetic army childhood, Gail Simmons settled with her family in a Chiltern village. Like most eighteen-year-olds, she couldn’t wait to leave home and spread her wings. Decades later – having worked in a Cumbrian castle, listed historic buildings in Warwickshire, led walking groups in Italy and the Middle East, and written for national newspapers – she returned to rediscover the landscape of her youth.

Gail holds an MA in medieval history and a PhD in creative writing and teaches travel writing at Bath Spa and Cambridge universities.

Between the Chalk and the Sea: a journey on foot into the past

An old map. A lost pilgrimage route. A journey in search of our walking heritage.

When Henry VIII banned pilgrimage in 1538, he ended not only a centuries-old tradition of walking as an act of faith but also a valuable chance to discover the joy of walking as an escape from the burdens of everyday life.

Much was lost when these journeys faded from our collective memory, but clues to our past remain. On an antique map in Oxford’s Bodleian Library, a faint red line threading through towns and villages between Southampton and Canterbury suggests a significant, though long-forgotten, road. 

Described as England’s Camino, this long-distance footpath carves through one of the nation’s most iconic landscapes – one that links prehistoric earthworks, abandoned monasteries, Saxon churches, ruined castles and historic seaports.

Over four seasons, travel writer Gail Simmons walks the Old Way to rediscover what a long journey on foot offers us today. In the age of the car, what does it mean to embrace ‘slow travel’? Why does being a woman walking alone still feel like a radical act? In an age when walking connects the nation, can we now reclaim pilgrimage as a secular act?

Winding 240 miles between the chalk hills and shifting seascapes of the south coast, Gail ventures deep into our past, exploring this lost path and telling a story of kings and knights, peasants and pilgrims, of ancient folklore and modern politics. Blending history, anthropology, etymology and geology, Gail’s walk along the Old Way reveals the rich natural and cultural heritage found on our own doorstep.

‘I loved this memoir - centuries of stories captured in the chalk, all told through the prism of one life’ - RAYNOR WINN, author of THE SALT PATH

Jade Angeles Fitton
Hermit: a memoir of finding freedom in a wild place

Jade is a writer, journalist, and award-winning producer. Her work has appeared in the likes of the Guardian, Independent, Vogue, Times Literary Supplement, New Statesman, Literary Review and the BBC. Her poetry has been published in a number of magazines including The Moth.

Hermit: a memoir of finding freedom in a wild place

An inspirational story of recovery, finding a home, and celebrating solitude in the natural world.

When Jade's partner leaves the barn that they moved into just weeks before, he leaves a dent in the wall, and her life unravels. Numbed from years in a destructive, abusive relationship, she faces an uncertain future and complete solitude. Slowly, with the help of Devon's salted cliffs and damp forested footpaths, Jade comes back to life and discovers the power of being alone.

As Jade reacclimatises, she considers what it means to live alone. Through conversations with other hermits across the world, Fitton sheds light on the myriad - and often misunderstood - ways of living alone, from monks to hikikomori and the largely ignored female hermit. Jade questions whether hermitic living is possible in an era of constant communication and increased housing costs as she finds herself financially unstable and itinerant. She realises that home doesn't exist within walls but within the landscape of her childhood home county.

‘A dreamy, beautiful book about the consolations of solitude ’ — CAL FLYN, author of ISLANDS OF ABANDONMENT

Phoebe Smith
Wayfarer: Love, loss and life on Britain’s ancient paths

Phoebe Smith is an award-winning adventurer, presenter, broadcaster, author, photographer, and speaker. She hosts the Wander Woman Podcast and is the Sleep Storyteller-in-Residence at She is the author of 10 books, including the bestselling Extreme Sleeps and has worked with a range of clients from the BBC to ITV, Radio 4, the Guardian, Ordnance Survey, Duke of Edinburgh Awards, Rolls Royce, Lowe Alpine and Berghaus.

Wayfarer: Love, loss and life on Britain’s ancient paths

A woman’s tale of the transformative power of walking Britain’s ancient pilgrim paths

On an assignment to walk the most famous pilgrimage in the world – the Camino de Santiago, in northern Spain – Phoebe Smith somehow lost her way.

Having spent a lifetime exploring unfamiliar places, she quit her dream job, ended her long-term relationship and headed home to North Wales to discover the point to… everything.

In her search for answers, she found herself – quite by accident – walking some of Britain’s oldest pilgrim paths. And by following these old ways, she ended up confronting past traumas that she thought she had laid to rest.

But while it follows holy trails, this is not a book about religion. From losing her mother as a teenager to surviving toxic relationships, Phoebe offers an unflinchingly honest look at her battle with an eating disorder, depression, and the pitfalls of newfound singledom.

Skilfully weaving together Phoebe’s own story with those of countless travellers past and present, Wayfarer reveals how nature and place can heal past wounds, offering a pathway to salvation she’d never thought existed.

‘Raw, honest, powerful. I couldn't put it down.’ Cerys Matthews

Previous Salons...

To access recordings of previous salons, subscribe to the Wild Women Writers' Salon newsletter and choose 'paid subscriber'.

writing memoir as an act of creative act of reclamation and empowerment after trauma

Hosted by Victoria Bennett, with guest authors Lily Dunn, Rebecca Fogg and Dr Liz O'Riordan

Thursday January 25th 2024

7 - 8.30pm GMT (online on Zoom)

Join host, Victoria Bennett (All My Wild Mothers), in conversation with authors authors Lily Dunn (The Sins of My Father: A Daughter, a Cult, a Wild Unravelling), Rebecca Fogg (Beautiful Trauma: A Journey of Discovery in Science and Healing) and Dr Liz O’Riordan (Under the Knife: Life Lessons from the Operating Theatre) as they share their experiences, insights, and creative words to take a deep dive into OUR VITAL CAPACITY - writing memoir as an act of creative act of reclamation and empowerment after trauma.

Whether you're a published or aspiring writer, an activist, or simply curious, this salon is for you. Join us online to connect with like-minded individuals, engage in thought-provoking discussions, and be inspired by the wild women writers who are shaping the literary landscape.

Mark your calendars and join us for a memorable evening of literary exploration!

The event is recorded, so don't worry if you can't make it in person. All ticket holders receive access to the recording after the salon.

Lily Dunn

Lily is an author, mentor and academic. Her debut nonfiction, Sins of My Father: A Daughter, A Cult, A Wild Unravelling, a memoir about the legacy of her father’s addictions (W&N), was The Spectator and The Guardian Best Nonfiction Book 2022. Her forthcoming book, Into Being: The radical craft of memoir and its power to transform is due to be published by MUP in 2025. She is also the author of a work of fiction, Shadowing the Sun (Portobello Books, 2007), and co-editor of A Wild and Precious Life (Unbound, 2021), an anthology of stories on recovery from mental illness and addiction. She teaches narrative nonfiction and memoir at Bath Spa University and co-runs the London Lit Lab.

The Sins of My Father


When Lily Dunn was just six years old, her father left the family home to follow his guru to India, trading domestic life for clothes dyed in oranges and reds and the promise of enlightenment with the cult of Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh. Since then, he has been a mystery to her.

She grew up enthralled by the image of him: effervescent, ambitious and elusive, a writer, publisher and entrepreneur, a man who would appear with gifts from faraway places and with whom she spent the long, hot summers of her teenage years in Italy, in the company of his wild and wealthy friends.

Yet he was also a compulsive liar, a delinquent, a man who abandoned his responsibilities in a pursuit of transcendence that took him from sex addiction, via the Rajneesh cult, to a relentless chase of money, which ended in ruin and finally addiction to alcohol and prescription drugs.

A detective story that charts two colliding narratives, Sins of My Father is a daughter's attempt to unravel the mysteries of a father who believed himself to be beyond reproach. A dazzling work of literary memoir, it asks how deep legacies of shame and trauma run and if we can reconcile unconditional love with irreparable damage.

‘Considerable courage is needed to return to the stark, bright light of trauma in this shirking-nothing way; but writing of this intensity has delivered an astonishing and valuable memoir ’ — THE SPECTATOR

Rebecca Fogg

Rebecca is an American author now based in England. In 2008, Rebecca Fogg walked away from her New York life and career in financial services to move to London, where she co-founded the Institute of Pre-Hospital Care at London’s Air Ambulance and continues to work, write and learn Scottish fiddle. BEAUTIFUL TRAUMA: A JOURNEY OF DISCOVERY IN SCIENCE AND SELF is Fogg’s first book. It was awarded the 2019 Royal Society of Literature Giles St. Aubyn Judge's Special Commendation for work in progress.

Beautiful Trauma

Part memoir, part medical investigation, this is a compelling account of surviving a freak accident, and a fascinating exploration of the science of trauma and recovery.

Late one night, Rebecca Fogg's hand is partially amputated in an explosion in her flat. Quick thinking saves her life, but the journey to recovery is a slow one. As the doctors rebuild her hand, Rebecca (who also survived 9/11) rebuilds her sense of self by studying the physical and psychological process of recovery.

Interspersing the personal with the medical, Rebecca charts her year of rehabilitation, touching on the marvellously adaptable anatomy of the hand; how the brain's fight or flight mechanism suppresses conscious thought so we can react instantly to danger; and why trauma causes some people to develop PTSD, while giving others a whole new lease of life.

Told with great emotional and intellectual clarity, BEAUTIFUL TRAUMA explores the resilient nature of the human spirit and the power we all hold in our hands.

‘This is a book of grace and hope. Grace in the recovery from pain and fear, and hope in the acceptance of a new, fascinating life’ — DR EMILY MAYHEW, author of WOUNDED

Dr Liz O'Riordan

Liz was diagnosed aged 40 with breast cancer whilst working as a consultant breast surgeon. Two years later, she had a local recurrence, and the side effects of treatment forced her to retire in 2019. She now talks all over the world about how to improve patient care. She wrote ‘The Complete Guide to Breast Cancer: How to Feel Empowered and Take Control’ to carry on helping patients. Her podcast, ‘Don’t Ignore The Elephant’, talks about the things no one else does. Liz is also a keen sportswoman and is passionate about promoting the benefits of exercise for cancer patients. Turning to writing, speaking and educating online, she is now an influential and inspiring voice in breast cancer awareness, sharing her knowledge and experiences through her podcast, talks, YouTube channel, social media and writing. When asked why she decided to write her memoir, she answered: I wanted the public to know how hard it is to train to be a surgeon; I wanted to talk publicly for the first time about my suicidal depression and share what it was like to be on the other side of the operating table.

Under the Knife

Dr Liz O’Riordan is a breast cancer surgeon who has battled against social, physical and mental challenges to practise at the top of her field. Under the Knife charts Liz’s incredible highs: performing like a couture dressmaker as she moulded and reshaped women’s breasts while saving their lives, to the heart-breaking lows of telling ten women a day that they had cancer.

But this memoir is more than just an eye-opening look at the realities of training to be a female surgeon in a man’s world. In addition to this high-powered, high-pressured role, Liz faced her own breast cancer diagnosis, severe depression and suicidal thoughts in tandem with commonplace sexual harassment and bullying. And by revealing how she coped when her life crashed around her, she demonstrates there is always hope.

‘(Under the Knife) reminds us all that our achievements do not define us. In the end, we find wisdom by living authentically, and that decision is the root of fulfilment’ — Dr KATHRYN MANNIX

SALON 2- Earth Matters:Words of Connection and Care in a time of Crisis

Hosted by Victoria Bennett
with guest authors Katie HoltenMarchelle Farrell and Kerri ni Dochartaigh

Thursday 30th November 2023

7 - 8.30 pm GMT, online on Zoom

Join host, Victoria Bennett (All My Wild Mothers), in conversation with authors Katie Holten (The Language of Trees), Marchelle Farrell (Uprooting) and Kerri ni Dochartaigh (Cacophony of Bone) as they share their experiences, insights, and creative words, to take a deep dive into Earth Matters - writing words of connection and care in a time of crisis.

Whether you're a published or aspiring writer, a nature activist, or simply curious, this salon is for you. Join us online to connect with like-minded individuals, engage in thought-provoking discussions, and be inspired by the wild women writers who are shaping the literary landscape.

Mark your calendars and join us for a memorable evening of literary exploration!

The event is recorded, so don't worry if you can't make it in person. All ticket holders receive access to the recording after the salon.

Katie Holten

Katie Holten is an artist and activist, born in Ireland and living in New York City and Ardee, Ireland. In 2003, she represented Ireland at the Venice Biennale. She has had solo exhibitions at the Bronx Museum of the Arts, the New Orleans Museum of Art, the Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis, and Dublin City Gallery: The Hugh Lane. Her drawings investigate the entangled relationships between humans and the natural world.

She has created Tree Alphabets, a Stone Alphabet, and a Wildflower Alphabet to share the joy she finds in her love of the more-than-human world. Her work has appeared in the Irish Times, New York Times, Artforum, and frieze. She is a visiting lecturer at the New School of the Anthropocene. If she could be a tree, she would be an Oak.

The Language of Trees



A stunning international collaboration that reveals how trees make our world, change our minds and rewild our lives – from root to branch to seed.

In this beautifully illustrated collection, artist Katie Holten gifts readers her visual Tree Alphabet and uses it to masterfully translate and illuminate pieces from some of the world’s most exciting writers, artists, activists and ecologists.

‘One of the most inspired items of environmental literature in recent years.’ IRISH INDEPENDENT

Marchelle Farrell

Marchelle Farrell is a therapist, writer and amateur gardener. Born in Trinidad and Tobago, she has spent the last twenty years attempting to become hardy in the UK. She has trained and worked as a consultant psychiatrist and psychotherapist. When not neglecting it for the care of her young children, or her work in the community, Marchelle spends much of her time getting to know her country garden in Somerset and writing about the things the garden teaches her about herself. Her debut Uprooting won the Nan Shepherd Prize.



What is home? It’s a question that has troubled Marchelle Farrell for her entire life. A longed-for career in psychiatry saw her leave behind the pristine beaches and emerald hills of Trinidad. Until, disillusioned, she uprooted again, this time for the peaceful English countryside.

The only Black woman in her village, Marchelle hopes to grow a new life. But when a worldwide pandemic and a global racial reckoning collide, the upheaval of colonialism that has led her to this place begins to be unearthed. Is this really home? And can she ever feel truly grounded here?

Full of hope and healing, Uprooting is a book about finding home where we least expect it, and which invites us to reconnect to the land – and ourselves.

‘… a lens from which to consider to place, people and planet. At time universal, at other times, strikingly personal’ GARDENS ILLUSTRATED

Kerri ni Dochartaigh

Kerri ní Dochartaigh is a mother and writer from the north-west of Ireland, now living in Clare with her family. She writes about nature, literature and place for the Guardian, Irish Times, the BBC and others. Her first book, Thin Places, was published in spring 2021, for which she was awarded the Butler Literary Award 2022, and highly commended for the Wainwright Prize for Nature Writing 2021. Cacophony of Bone is her second book.

Cacophony of Bone



Cacophony of Bone maps the circle of a year – a journey from one place to another, field notes of a life – from one winter to the next. It is a telling of a changed life, in a changed world – and it is about all that does not change. All that which simply keeps on – living and breathing, nesting and dying – in spite of it all. When the pandemic came time seemed to shapeshift, so this is also a book about time. It is, too, a book about home, and what that can mean. Fragmentary in subject and form, fluid of language, this is an ode to a year, a place, and a love, that changed a life.

‘Raw, visionary, lucid and mystical’ KATHERINE MAY

SALON 1 - Rural Landscape, Rural Lives- with Rebecca Smith, Catrina Davies and Nicola Chester

Thursday October 26th 2023 
1 - 2.30pm online (Zoom)

Tickets - by donation - pay what you can (suggested donation £15/10/5)

Join host, Victoria Bennett (All My Wild Mothers), in conversation with authors Rebecca Smith (Rural), Catrina Davies (Once Upon A Raven's Nest) and Nicola Chester (On Gallows Down) as they share their experiences, insights, and creative words, offering insight into the intimate connections between people and the landscapes they call home.

Whether you're a published or aspiring writer, a nature activist, or simply curious about the rural experience, this salon is for you. Join us online to connect with like-minded individuals, engage in thought-provoking discussions, and be inspired by the wild women writers who are shaping the literary landscape.

Mark your calendars and join us for a memorable afternoon of literary exploration!

RURAL: The Lives of the Working-Class Countryside 

Rebecca Smith is a non-fiction writer from Cumbria currently based in Central Scotland. Her first book, Rural: The Lives of the Working-Class Countryside is for anyone who loves and longs for the countryside, whose family owes something to a bygone trade, or who is interested in the future of rural Britain. Starting with Rebecca Smith's own family history - foresters in Cumbria, miners in Derbyshire, millworkers in Nottinghamshire, builders of reservoirs and the Manchester Ship Canal - Rural is an exploration of our green and pleasant land, and the people whose labour has shaped it. Beautifully observed, these are the stories of professions and communities that often go overlooked.

'A thoughtful, moving, honest book that questions what it means to belong to a place when it can never belong to you' -- CAL FLYN

ONCE UPON A RAVEN'S NEST: A Life on Exmoor in an epoch of change

Catrina Davies is the author of three books: Fearless (2014), Homesick (2019) and Once Upon a Raven’s Nest (2023). She was born in Snowdonia and grew up in the far west of Cornwall, where she still lives, in various sheds. Homesick was longlisted for the Baillie Gifford prize and won a Holyer an Gof award. Her latest book, Once Upon a Raven’s Nest is the story of a working class man, one Thomas Hedley of Exmoor, and of the planet during the period of its great acceleration towards the current climate emergency. An unforgettable history of a life that is almost lost and an account of the destruction man has wrought on the earth in the time that Hedley worked the land, the narrative is interwoven with a sequence of factual entries that chart the impending climate catastrophe and the consequences of our collective choices to ignore the warning of an environment on the verge of collapse.

‘A rich, beautiful and deeply moving book’ - GEORGE MONBIOT

ON GALLOW'S DOWN: Place, Protest & Belonging

Nicola Chester is an activist for nature, and has been called an ‘early, female pioneer of the new nature writing’ (Dominic Couzens). She has written for BBC Wildlife Magazine, Caught By The River, The Clearing, Country Living, The Telegraph, The Financial Times, Slightly Foxed and The Wildlife Trusts. Her debut award-winning memoir, On Gallows Down was Highly Commended in the Wainwright Prize for Nature Writing, 2022, winner of the 2021 Richard Jefferies Prize for Nature Writing, and selected for Stephen Moss’s, Melissa Harrison’s and Countryfile Magazine’s ‘Best Books of 2021’. It is the story of a life shaped by landscape. From the girl catching the eye of the “peace women” of Greenham Common to the young woman protesting the loss of ancient and beloved trees, and as a mother raising a family in a tied-farm cottage in the shadow of grand, country estates, this is the story of how Nicola Chester came to write – as a means of protest. A powerful, personal story shaped by a landscape; one that ripples and undulates with protest, change, hope – and the search for home.

‘Political, passionate & personal’ -- ROBERT MACFARLANE