Salt On Your Tongue

Women and the Sea

Charlotte Runcie

Salt On Your Tongue by Charlotte Runcie (Hardback ISBN 9781786891198) book cover

Available as Hardback, eBook, Downloadable audio

A lyrical exploration of the sea, how it inspires art, music and literature and how it connects us, from the Daily Telegraph’s poetry critic

Charlotte Runcie has always felt pulled to the sea, lured by its soothing, calming qualities but also enlivened and inspired by its salty wildness. When she loses her beloved grandmother, and becomes pregnant with her first child, she feels its pull even more intensely.

In Salt On Your Tongue Charlotte explores what the sea means to us, and particularly what it has meant to women through the ages. This book is a walk on the beach with Turner, with Shakespeare, with the Romantic Poets and shanty-singers. It’s an ode to our oceans – to the sailors who brave their treacherous waters, to the women who lost their loved ones to the waves, to the creatures that dwell in their depths, to beach combers, swimmers, seabirds and mermaids.

In mesmerising prose, Charlotte Runcie shows how the sea has inspired, fascinated and terrified us, and how she herself fell in love with the deep blue. Navigating through ancient Greek myths, poetry, shipwrecks and Scottish folktales, Salt On Your Tongue is about how the wild untameable waves can help us understand what it means to be human.

“This motherhood memoir-cum-nature journal about the connection between women and the sea is bracing and poetic … Throughout, her prose is defined by cool confidence and unshowy clarity, allowing its more poetic observations, of which there are plenty, to glimmer like glass pebbles … Just like her favourite kind of blustery beach, it’s strewn with pocketable treasures”

See more reviews

“A very beautiful book about myth and motherhood – a memoir that intertwines effortlessly and poetically with tales of the sea. Salt On Your Tongue has a rare magic to it”
Sophie Mackintosh, Booker-longlisted Author Of The Water Cure

“Runcie has combined an exploration of Scotland’s seascape with the story of her pregnancy and the birth of her daughter … Breathless, intimate … Very much in the vein of bestsellers The Outrun by Amy Liptrot and H is for Hawk by Helen Macdonald”
mail On Sunday

“A wise and wonderful book, charting intensely personal moments against the constant yet ever-changing sea. A story of birth, loss, memory and motherhood, spliced with vivid observations of the natural world and collected myth, lore and legend, Charlotte Runcie’s voice is by turns practical and poetic, objective and beguiling. An utterly immersive read”
Jess Kidd, Author Of Himself And The Hoarder

“An expectant mother’s diary is also a treasure trove of lore and legend and a moving tribute to the grandmother who inspired a lifelong love of beachcombing … A lyrical, impassioned and curious book … Elegantly done”
Stuart Kelly
scotland On Sunday

Charlotte Runcie

Charlotte Runcie is the Daily Telegraph’s radio columnist and arts writer. For several years she lived and worked in Edinburgh, where she ran a folk music choir, and she now lives in the Scottish Borders. She has a secret past as a poet, having been a Foyle Young Poet of the Year with a pamphlet published by tall-lighthouse. Salt On Your Tongue is her first book.

@charlotteruncie |


24 Jan 2019

Golden Hare Books, Stockbridge, Edinburgh

30 Jan 2019

The Chapel, Corbridge

31 Jan 2019

Mainstreet Trading, St Boswells, Scottish Borders

13 Feb 2019

The Bookshop, Greyfriars Garden, St. Andrews

11 Mar 2019

Words by the Water Festival, Cumbria

14 Mar 2019

Mitchell Library, Glasgow