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Storm Pegs

A Life Made in Shetland

Jen Hadfield author

Format:Hardback

Publisher:Pan Macmillan

Published:11th Jul '24

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Storm Pegs cover

A love letter to life on the remote British islands of Shetland and to a wilder way of living, from one of our most celebrated poets.

'Storm Pegs perfectly captures the knotting of language and landscape. I was transported.' - Katherine May, Sunday Times bestselling author of Wintering

From the winner of the T.S. Eliot Prize and theHighland Book Prize

What if the answer to ‘Where am I?’ is ‘heaven’?


In her late twenties, celebrated poet Jen Hadfield moved to the Shetland archipelago to make her life anew. A scattering of islands at the northernmost point of the United Kingdom, frequently cut off from the mainland by storms, Shetland is a place of Vikings and myths, of ancient languages and old customs, of breathtaking landscapes and violent weather. It has long fascinated travellers seeking the edge of the world.

On these islands known for their isolation and drama, Hadfield found something more: a place teeming with life, where rare seabirds blow in on Atlantic gales, seals and dolphins visit its beaches, and wild folk festivals carry the residents through long, dark winters. She found a close-knit community, too, of neighbours always willing to lend a boat or build a creel, of women wild-swimming together in the star-spangled winter seas. Over seventeen years, as bright summer nights gave way to storm-lashed winters, she learned new ways to live.

In prose as rich and magical as Shetland itself, Hadfield transports us to the islands as a local; introducing us to the remote and beautiful archipelago where she has made her home, and shows us new ways of living at the edge.

Storm Pegs perfectly captures the knotting of language and landscape. I was transported. -- Katherine May, Sunday Times bestselling author of Wintering
Storm Pegs is rich, attentive and beautifully written. Hadfield writes vividly about the tides, the Shaetlan language, and shows a great appreciation for the people and modern life of Shetland. This book has been my friend. I really loved it and I recommend it -- Amy Liptrot, author of The Outrun
Delightful: at once intricate and effortless, playful and deeply-felt. A heartfelt paean to a coldwater Eden. -- Cal Flyn, author of  Islands of Abandonment
What a wonderful book. Jen Hadfield just has to turn her languaged gaze to the world and it fizzes to life on the page. One of the most intensely realised accounts of a place - and time in a place - I have read. -- Philip Marsden, author of The Summer Isles
Storm Pegs is a deeply thoughtful and beautifully written account of a life centred on making art in a lively island community. Hadfield writes with rare nuance about choosing and building a new life in a place that calls to many of us. -- Sarah Moss, author of Summerwater
A gorgeous portrait of a fascinating, ever-changing place, as well as very many other things: friendship, community, creation and self-creation, the cycle of the seasons and the toil and triumph of the elements. I adored it. -- Sara Baume, author of A Line Made By Walking
This book is brim-full of love for Shetland – for its land and seascapes, for its people and language. Hadfield’s writing is fuelled by unceasing curiosity and attentiveness. It is vivid, lively and fresh -- Malachy Tallack, author of Sixty Degrees North
In this memoir, written after 17 years living in this wild, wonderful place, Hadfield reflects on her pristine but often brutal surroundings, where seals and dolphins nose up to the beaches and residents enjoy wild swimming through wintry seas. -- GQ, The best books of 2024
Storm Pegs is as much an account of the author finding new personal bearings as a series of magic lantern slides about insular life . . . This is a great, bright birl of a book – thoroughly beguiling. * The Spectator *
Hadfield paints Shetland vividly as a place ever-changing. Storm Pegs is a powerful hymn to Shetland and to community, as well as to the awesomeness of nature. This is a bewitching book, tactile and immersive, riven with salt winds, alive with human oddities and loud with the cries of seabirds. Everything glows in the light of Hadfield’s words, from slimy sea molluscs to grand island vistas. * The Telegraph *

ISBN: 9781529038026

Dimensions: 223mm x 145mm x 35mm

Weight: 478g

368 pages