The Word for Woman is Wilderness

Erin is 19. She’s never really left England, but she has watched Bear Grylls and wonders why it’s always men who get to go on all the cool wilderness adventures. So Erin sets off on a voyage into the Alaskan wilderness, a one-woman challenge to the archetype of the rugged male explorer.

As Erin’s journey takes her through the Arctic Circle, across the entire breadth of the American continent and finally to a lonely cabin in the wilds of Denali, she explores subjects as diverse as the moon landings, the Gaia hypothesis, loneliness, nuclear war, shamanism and the pill.

Filled with a sense of wonder for the natural world and a fierce love for preserving it, The Word for Woman is Wilderness is a funny, frank and tender account of a young woman in uncharted territory.


‘The Word for Woman Is Wilderness is unlike any published work I have read… rises to its own challenges in engaging intellectually as well as wholeheartedly with its questions about gender, genre and the concept of wilderness’ — Sarah Moss ― Guardian

‘A wide wild world comes surging out of this book, flooding the space you sit in with an energy and a vastness of scope that dazzles and daunts and exhilarates. It is a quiet, sardonic, funny, fluid text, a visionary book, that shows us the future is in fact already here.’ ― Caught by the River

‘A gripping feminist reimagining of Into the Wild.’ ― Elle

‘Refreshing and funny and unlike anything else. I feel as if I’ve been waiting for this book for a long time’ — Daisy Johnson, Booker Prize-longlisted author of Everything Under

‘Clever, funny and thoughtful’ — Will Ashon, author of Strange Labyrinth

‘A thinking woman’s adventure story … [Andrews’ prose has] grace and reflection… beautiful, thoughtful, and often humorous.’ — Lucy Scholes ― The National

‘Erin is a captivating heroine – funny, feminist and intensely curious, she riffs on Bear Grylls, the beauty of the natural world and the contraceptive pill as she makes her way to a tiny cabin in desolate Denali… brilliant.’ ― Daily Mail

‘A hopeful and challenging account of a young woman in uncharted territory … The many-coloured themes and ideas in the book are themselves painted on complex and overlapping canvases – of feminism, in an age of wilderness, but a wilderness that has been warped as it becomes embedded in the Anthropocene …The Word for Woman is Wilderness is filled with humour and seriousness; interweaving ideas that in many other books would have a hard time sitting together, and then making that non-dualism part of the purpose of the book. It asks us to rewild not just our landscapes, but our words and ways of thinking about nature and so many other things.’ ― Ecologist

‘A varied, funny, and important novel for our times’ ― Helsinki Book Review

‘Sometimes, the greatest stories are the ones that generate inspiration beyond our wildest imagination … this is an inspiring account of the unprecedented change to the social norms of young women in uncharted territory’ ― Wired for Adventure

‘A good book is one that makes you think about your own life. A great book is one that challenges your thinking. But it is a truly remarkable book that changes how you think, and The Word for Woman is Wilderness had that effect on me. I can’t give it higher praise than that’ ― Bookmunch

‘Uplifting, with a thirsty curiosity, the writing is playful and exuberant. Riffing on feminist ideas but unlimited in scope, Andrews focuses our attention on our beautiful, doomed planet, and the astonishing things we have yet to discover.’ — Ruth McKee ― Irish Times

‘This book is a feminist, millennial manifesto about reclaiming the wilderness. Andrews’ debut novel follows a 19-year-old girl on a feminist expedition in the footsteps of Chris McCandless, and is told in such a self-conscious, clever and amusing way that I haven’t stopped thinking about it since’ ― Cardiff Review