5 Facts About Cheryl Strayed and Wild

Although Bushwick’s Wild inspired event has come and gone, I still find myself thinking about both the book and the movie often. These nagging thoughts caused me to go on an all-out Google blitz to find out more about Wild, its author Cheryl Strayed and the Pacific Coast Trail. Here are five facts I learned during my investigation.

Cheryl Strayed is a popular advice columnist.

Strayed writes the super popular advice column Dear Sugar. Starting anonymously, she’s been writing it since 2010 and recently launched a companion podcast called Dear Sugar Radio. In 2012, she compiled the best columns into a book Tiny Beautiful Things: Advice on Love and Life from Dear Sugar.

Dear Sugar tiny beautiful things

Nick Hornby wrote the Wild screenplay.

After Hornby read Wild, he knew he wanted to adapt it for a screenplay. With his agent, he convinced movie rights owner Reese Witherspoon and her producing partners to let him have a crack at it. Witherspoon purchased the film rights before the book was even published.

Sidenote: One of the first Bushwick Book Club Seattle shows was for Hornby’s High Fidelity. You can hear some of the songs inspired by that book  here.

Cheryl Strayed  is also a novelist.

In addition to non-fiction, Strayed has also written a novel. Torch is about a waitress and radio show host who dies of cancer leaving her family to pick up the pieces without their matriarch. Written before Wild, it has similar themes of grief and the destruction it causes. Originally published in 2006, it was reissued in 2012 due to the popularity of Wild.


Wild re-launched Oprah’s book club.

Oprah resurrected her book club with Oprah’s Book Club 2.0 in June 2012 just for Wild. On her site, there is a fun article about 12 stops along the Pacific Coast Trail as Strayed would have seen them.

The Pacific Coast Trail is now more popular than ever.

The popularity of Wild (first the book and now the movie) has led to a 300% jump in PCT hiking permit applications. It’s so popular that the PCT Association instituted a new permit system that allows only 50 hikers to start at the southernmost point a day. Those at the PCTA aren’t sure how long the “Wild bump” will last, but they are being proactive so the trail doesn’t suffer from overuse.

What interesting tidbits do you know about Cheryl Strayed and Wild? Please share in the comments below.