American readers: we have an absolutely perfect gift for your loved ones (and for yourself), as we inch closer to the coldest season. Katherine May‘s transfixing memoir, Wintering is being released in hardback today by Penguin Random House / Riverhead Books.

In this glowing ode to the natural world, Katherine offers rare vulnerability, as she explores one of the most trying times of her life, and details how she found restoration in retreating. ‘Exactly what the world needs right now’ expressed Nora McInerny.  Last year, during the book’s UK release, she wrote an extraordinary piece for The Guardian on the benefits of human hibernation. One of the most prestigious critical platforms in the US, NPR, has deemed it a “contemplative, hopeful, consoling book.” Katherine will be gracing the airwaves as part of a national radio tour,  as well as joining The goop Podcast and The Astral Hustle so be sure to listen out for her!

The title is already getting immense buzz from domestic retailers; Barnes & Noble has chosen the book as a premier handsell title for the holiday season. We were also thrilled to bits this week that it has been selected as the No.1 December pick by US independent booksellers. Cumulatively, this will result in a major first print run. As part of this huge accolade, it was the featured newsletter title for the annual conference of Midwestern indie booksellers. Several provided glowing reviews, crowning it a “balm for the soul” and “a ray of sunlight” amongst other compliments.


An intimate, revelatory book exploring the ways we can care for and repair ourselves when life knocks us down.

Sometimes you slip through the cracks: unforeseen circumstances like an abrupt illness, the death of a loved one, a break up, or a job loss can derail a life. These periods of dislocation can be lonely and unexpected. For May, her husband fell ill, her son stopped attending school, and her own medical issues led her to leave a demanding job. Wintering explores how she not only endured this painful time, but embraced the singular opportunities it offered.

A moving personal narrative shot through with lessons from literature, mythology, and the natural world, May’s story offers instruction on the transformative power of rest and retreat. Illumination emerges from many sources: solstice celebrations and dormice hibernation, C.S. Lewis and Sylvia Plath, swimming in icy waters and sailing arctic seas.

Ultimately Wintering invites us to change how we relate to our own fallow times. May models an active acceptance of sadness and finds nourishment in deep retreat, joy in the hushed beauty of winter, and encouragement in understanding life as cyclical, not linear. A secular mystic, May forms a guiding philosophy for transforming the hardships that arise before the ushering in of a new season.


Reviewers have been in awe of Katherine’s intimate self-expression and gorgeous narrative style:

“Beautifully written mix of memoir and philosophy…With a pandemic keeping us isolated in so many ways, May offers much-needed solace and comfort and a reminder that seasons eventually turn.” Booklist

“An intimate meditation on solitude and transformation…A serene evocation of a dark season.” Kirkus Reviews

“In this elegant memoir, journalist May finds beauty and transformation in a difficult period of her life… May’s evocative ode to retreat will appeal to fans of Deborah Levy’s The Cost of Living.” Publishers Weekly

“I read this beautiful book in one late night and very early morning: it creates a weather and time system of its own that I wanted to stay in.” Amazon Reviewer, 5 stars 

“This is an extraordinary book, a primer on how to recognise and meet our needs for self-nurture and healing in the cycles of sadness or difficulty that life throws at us periodically.” Amazon Reviewer, 5 stars 

Katherine May writes fiction and memoir, and leads the Creative Writing MA at Canterbury Christ Church University. She lives in Whitstable with her husband and son, and can be mostly found walking along the beach and – yes – swimming in the sea.

We are so excited that US readers can finally experience Katherine’s ethereal and healing voice. This is a read that can be savoured at any time of year, but that is particularly fitting for current times –  so buy today.