One Wild Song

Author(s): Paul Heiney


When Countrywise presenter Paul Heiney's son Nicholas committed suicide aged 23, Paul and his wife, Times columnist Libby Purves, were rocked to the core. Nicholas had been a highly gifted promising young man, albeit he had struggled to keep his head above water at times as severe depression slowly dragged him down over many years.

Nicholas was a keen sailor, with several of his posthumously-published writings having a nautical theme. To try to reconnect with this happier memory of his son, Paul decides to set out - alone - on a voyage he would have liked them to have embarked upon together.

Cape Horn is the sailor's Everest. One of the most remote and bleak parts of the world, it takes courage, physical strength and mental fortitude to face its tempestuous seas, violent winds and barren landscape. During the voyage Paul finds a peace of mind and a way to face the future without his son.

Poignant, moving, funny, thought provoking and beautifully written, Paul's account of setting his own course through seemingly insurmountable grief makes for a powerful story. Injected with humour, perceptiveness and philosophy, recounting his highs, lows, frustrations and triumphs, the honesty and openness of Paul's story makes this very personal account a universal tale.


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After his son committed suicide aged only 23, television presenter Paul Heiney decided to set sail on a voyage to Cape Horn to connect with his son's 'voice'. Not only a hugely challenging experience physically, this turned out to be an emotional journey of much more importance.

A terrific adventure into wild and distant waters, and a strong tribute to a son's memory. Paul Heiney's story is a new classic of small-boat seafaring and a fine description of the deep south. Sir Ranulph Fiennes One Wild Song is a little masterpiece, sometimes thrilling, sometimes, hilarious, sometimes almost unbearably moving... A wonderfully told story of the sea, shot through with an author's anguish at the loss of a beloved (and hugely talented) son. I have never read anything like it before and it haunts me still. John Julius Norwich A wonderful book, finely considered and beautifully written, that does not spare us the considerable trials of small-boat voyaging, nor the struggle to make sense of the incomprehensible nature of loss. It is an absorbing, moving journey which explores the wonders and frustrations of the sea as powerfully as it explores the mysteries of the human spirit; a journey which ends where all true journeys should end, with a greater measure of peace and understanding. Clare Francis, international bestselling novelist One Wild Song is a shipshape contribution to the shelves of sailing literature. The Times

Paul Heiney has been a TV and radio broadcaster for over 30 years, starting on Radio 1 before working on Radio 4's Today programme. He was a presenter on That's Life! from 1978 until 1982, and more recently has presented Watchdog on BBC 1. He currently presents the ITV primetime show Countrywise. He wrote a weekly column for The Times for 7 years about working 40 acres traditionally with Suffolk Punch horses. He has written over a dozen books, both fiction and non-fiction. His popular science book, Can Cows Walk Downstairs?, has been a bestseller in 15 languages.

General Fields

  • : 9781472919489
  • : Bloomsbury Publishing PLC
  • : Adlard Coles
  • : April 2015
  • : 234mm X 153mm X 26mm
  • : United Kingdom
  • : books

Special Fields

  • : Paul Heiney
  • : Hardback
  • : English
  • : 910.91635
  • : 240
  • : 2 x 8pp photo sections