Agent: Broo Doherty
I came to England in 1967 on a Fyffes banana boat and grew up believing I’d get married, have six children and live in a house in the country and live happily ever after like my parents. I do live in the country - the Lake District - have two grown up children and have worked from home as a freelance copyeditor for the last 30 years. Before that I worked in mainstream publishing (Virgin Publishing and Harper Collins) first as Doctor Who Editor and Romantic Editor and then a desk editor. My novel Out of Touch was shortlisted for the Impress Prize for Fiction 2014 (it was inspired by my grandmother’s letters while she lived in the Sudan during the 1930s and 1940s) (it remains unpublished). The first book I wrote was called The Toothfaces and the headmistress gave me A* commended.
Cycling and trail running were my sporting obsessions for many years until osteo-arthritis destroyed the cartilage in both knees. Following major leg surgery in 2017, which left me with limited mobility, I found solace in wild swimming, The Cold Fix (Vertebrate Publishing), my narrative non-fiction book is testament to how the cold water unlocked my creativity and ability to walk again.
In November 2018, BBC NE & Cumbria produced a film about how I used cold water swimming to cope with physical and emotional pain.
Outdoor Swimmer magazine published my feature on attempting the Polar Bear Challenge in their November 2018 issue and Tim Lewis interviewed me for a feature on the benefits of cold water swimming for the Observer magazine on 23 December 2018.
Simon Reeves invited me to take him for his first wild swim in Buttermere as part of his 2021 BBC series The Lakes and we discussed how cold water swimming can be deeply healing and spiritual.
I swim or dip 365 days a year whatever the weather in just a swimsuit or birthday suit as part of my daily routine of yoga and cold water. I have just qualified as a Level II Open Water Swim Coach with a view to introducing people to wild swimming as a way of unlocking your creativity and releasing your inner strength.
Books by Sara Barnes