Rebecca Loncraine

2019 Nominee

Edward Stanford Travel Memoir of the Year Award

19 April 2018
320 pages


'A soaring gift of a book' Owen Sheers
'Remarkable' Mark Vanhoenacker, author of Skyfaring
'Stunning . . . a love letter to nature' Cathy Rentzenbrink, author of The Last Act of Love

The day she flew in a glider for the first time, Rebecca Loncraine fell in love. Months of gruelling treatment for breast cancer meant she had lost touch with the world around her, but in that engineless plane, soaring 3,000 feet over the landscape of her childhood, with only the rising thermals to take her higher and the birds to lead the way, she felt ready to face life again.

And so Rebecca flew, travelling from her home in the Black Mountains of Wales to New Zealand’s Southern Alps and the Nepalese Himalayas as she chased her new-found passion: her need to soar with the birds, to push herself to the boundary of her own fear.

Taking in the history of unpowered flight, and with extraordinary descriptions of flying in some of the world’s most dangerous and dramatic locations, Skybound is a nature memoir with a unique perspective; it is about the land we know and the sky we know so little of, it is about memory and self-discovery.

Rebecca became ill again just as she was finishing Skybound, and she died in September 2016. Though her death is tragic, it does not change what Skybound is: a book full of hope. Deeply moving, thrilling and euphoric, Skybound is for anyone who has ever looked up and longed to take flight.

Shortlisted for the Edward Stanford Travel Writing Award 2018.

A profound, euphoric and courageous book about how to live joyously, and how to meet death . . . breathtaking . . . Her journey is as lyrical and complicated as the sky she describes, and her book is a shimmering parting gift to those still earthbound
Skybound is a soaring gift of a book. A moving meditation on landscapes and the leaving of them, the freedom of travelling beyond our fears and how our journeys between the known and the unknown, the familiar and the unfamiliar can teach us to cherish and see again.
It's early for predictions, but I'm sure Rebecca Loncraine's Skybound is going to be one of my books of the year. It's a book that makes you look at the sky and the land with new eyes; that gives you a lift, in more ways than one . . . an extraordinary book . . . a celebration of wind and wings . . . we've lost a huge talent